Mechanical engineer looks for alloys to dissipate heat more quickly than materials in current use
Anyone who has had a computer or cellphone overheat will appreciate the research that Scott Schiffres, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, is conducting with support from a five-year, $500,000 National Science Foundation CAREER Award.
His project, which will be fully underway in the fall, is titled “Intermetallic Interfacial Thermal Transport for Advanced Electronics Manufacturing,” and his goal is to find new alloys that form intermetallics – metal alloys with defined crystal structures – onto silicon with thermal properties that can dissipate heat more quickly than materials in current use.
The work has important applications to additive manufacturing – the process of joining materials to make objects from 3D model data, usually a layer at a time – as well as electronics packaging and superalloys (high-performing alloys), yet has been relatively unstudied from a thermal perspective. “This could help with microprocessors and power electronics such as cell phones, optical devices like lasers and power amplifiers,” Schiffres said. “Electronic components, primarily.”