Flexible high-temperature dielectric materials from polymer nanocomposites

A Corrigendum to this article was published on 13 April 2016

Abstract

Dielectric materials, which store energy electrostatically, are ubiquitous in advanced electronics and electric power systems1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8. Compared to their ceramic counterparts, polymer dielectrics have higher breakdown strengths and greater reliability1,2,3,9, are scalable, lightweight and can be shaped into intricate configurations, and are therefore an ideal choice for many power electronics, power conditioning, and pulsed power applications1,9,10. However, polymer dielectrics are limited to relatively low working temperatures, and thus fail to meet the rising demand for electricity under the extreme conditions present in applications such as hybrid and electric vehicles, aerospace power electronics, and underground oil and gas exploration11,12,13. Here we describe crosslinked polymer nanocomposites that contain boron nitride nanosheets, the dielectric properties of which are stable over a broad temperature and frequency range. The nanocomposites have outstanding high-voltage capacitive energy storage capabilities at record temperatures (a Weibull breakdown strength of 403 megavolts per metre and a discharged energy density of 1.8 joules per cubic centimetre at 250 degrees Celsius). Their electrical conduction is several orders of magnitude lower than that of existing polymers and their high operating temperatures are attributed to greatly improved thermal conductivity, owing to the presence of the boron nitride nanosheets, which improve heat dissipation compared to pristine polymers (which are inherently susceptible to thermal runaway). Moreover, the polymer nanocomposites are lightweight, photopatternable and mechanically flexible, and have been demonstrated to preserve excellent dielectric and capacitive performance after intensive bending cycles. These findings enable broader applications of organic materials in high-temperature electronics and energy storage devices.

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Figure 1: Material preparation and structures.
Figure 2: Dielectric stability.
Figure 3: Electrical energy storage capability.
Figure 4: Steady-state temperature distribution.

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Acknowledgements

Q.W. acknowledges financial support from the US Office of Naval Research under grant number N00014-11-1-0342. L.-Q.C. is supported by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research under grant number FA9550-14-1-0264. H.U.L. and T.N.J. acknowledge support from the Dow Chemical Corporation.

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Contributions

Q.W. and Q.L. devised the original concept. Q.L. and M.R.G. were responsible for materials synthesis and characterization. Q.L., M.R.G. and G.Z performed dielectric and polarization-loop measurements. L.C. and L.-Q.C. carried out simulation studies. S.Z. and Q.L. performed the studies of high-Tg dielectric polymers. H.U.L. and T.N.J. designed the bending tests. E.I. provided research-grade BCB used in the preparation of the samples reported, and also participated in helpful discussions. A.H. measured thermal conductivities. Q.W. and Q.L. wrote the first draft of the manuscript, and all authors participated in manuscript revision.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Qing Wang.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Supplementary information

Supplementary Information

This file contains Supplementary Text, Supplementary Figures 1-36, Supplementary Tables 1-6 and additional references. (PDF 6640 kb)

Bending test of c-BCB/BNNS films

A c-BCB/BNNS film is bended repeatedly to a bending radius of 4 mm with a homemade setup. (MP4 24791 kb)

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Li, Q., Chen, L., Gadinski, M. et al. Flexible high-temperature dielectric materials from polymer nanocomposites. Nature 523, 576–579 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1038/nature14647

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