A new research show that hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN), more commonly known as white graphene, might be used to stop small electronics from overheating, according to a Rice University team whose study represented a first theoretical analysis of a cooling process using white graphene to control the flow of heat.
White graphene, isn’t that different to normal graphene as far as looks go, but one main difference between them is the fact that white graphene may act as an insulator – a material which doesn’t allow the flow of electric current under the influence of an electric field – while normal graphene does not provide any impediment to electricity. Both white and regular graphene are capable of conducting heat, so h-BN would hypothetically be a great material to control production and flow heat in electronic devices.
Rice assistant professor Rouzbeh Shahsavari, who was involved in the research, stated that nowadays it has become a normal expectation from most, if not all electronics to let heat out of the system as quickly as possible while still doing it at an efficient rate. This would allow bolstering the performance of the device’s individual components, in turn allowing for the use of more complicated and performant software.
However, Dr. Shahsavari warned that when electronics are formed from materials layered on their base, rapid heat venting happens only in one particular direction where there is a conductive plain which allows it, but in the space between the layers the flow remains slow or non-existent. This basically reduces the effectiveness of systems using rapid heat flows as the amount of heat retained within the layers drives temperatures up, or gives cooling systems a harder time.
But Rice researchers might have found an answer for this in white graphene. They executed computer simulations which recreated 3D structures which had white graphene planes linked between them by special junctions of boron nitride nano-tubes. This construct significantly slowed down heat flow within the confines of the junctions.
Dr. Shahsavari concluded that the insulating properties of white graphene could allow it to be inserted complementary within nanoelectronic, possibly leading in the future to thermal management systems which can cause varying heat flows in different directions, allowing for a way more efficient cooling process.
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