Exploring the Role of Nanomaterials in Advancing Solar Thermal Technologies

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Photovoltaics (PV) are a viable renewable energy technology, yet inadequate conversion efficiency remains a steadfast problem. A heat extractor that will attach to the back of a PV panel will cool it and boost its power output. While thermoplastics are found to be better overall materials than metals due to low density and environmental resistance, they fall short in thermal conductivity. This work explores various composite materials and fabrication methods to close the gap in thermal conductivity between thermoplastics and metals. Graphene nanoparticles and carbon nanotubes are found to be effective additives to improve the thermal conductivities of base polymers. In this paper, the significance of alignment of carbon-based fillers within a polymer matrix is established and the advantages and drawbacks of various alignment methods are discussed. Finally, the environmental impacts that high thermal conductivity polymer composites have are considered.

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Journal: TechConnect Briefs
Volume: TechConnect Briefs 2021
Published: October 18, 2021
Pages: 253 - 256
Industry sector: Energy & Sustainability
Topics: Catalysis, Energy Storage
ISBN: 978-0-578-99550-2