Birck Nanotechnology Center

Robert Sayer Seminar

February 5 @ 4:30 PM - 5:30 PM - MRGN 121

Robert Sayer

Sandia National Laboratories

Thermal Contact Conductance of Radiation-Aged Thermal Interface Materials for Space Applications and an Overview of Employment Opportunities at Sandia National Laboratories


Presenter Bio:

Robert Sayer is a Senior R&D Mechanical Engineer at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, NM. His research is focused on experimental measurement of thermal conductivity and thermal contact conductance of materials exposed to extreme conditions such as abnormal thermal environments and gamma radiation. He received his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Purdue University in 2011, where he conducted research related to the development of carbon nanotube devices and thermal property measurements of MEMS/NEMS.


The first part of the talk will provide an overview of Sandia National Laboratories, a leading Department of Energy science and engineering national laboratory.  The scope of the broad range of research conducted at Sandia will be presented and potential job opportunities discussed.

The second part of the talk titled, “Thermal Contact Conductance of Radiation-Aged Thermal Interface Materials for Space Applications,” will discuss experimental research into the effect of gamma-ray radiation on the thermal contact resistance (TCR) of carbon nanotube (CNT), metallic foil, and elastomeric thermal interface materials (TIMs) commonly used in satellite and other space systems. TIMs serve a critical role in thermal management by enhancing heat transfer across contact interfaces. Specifically, they are most commonly used in electronics to enhance the flow of heat from source to sink by decreasing the overall thermal resistance of the system. In space, these materials are exposed to high doses of Gamma radiation due to the lack of an atmosphere to serve as an absorbing medium. With typical design lifetimes of 5 to 10 years, total radiation exposure can be significant and can adversely affect the TCR of the TIM. Here, the effect of radiation-aging on the TCR of CNT based TIMs as well as several commercially available interface materials that are commonly used in satellite systems is discussed. The results show that radiation-aging of TIMs cannot be ignored in the design and simulation of space systems.

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