Indexed on: 15 May '11Published on: 15 May '11Published in: Indian Journal of Physics
As the disposal of fly ash (FA) poses a serious problem in terms of land use and potential environmental pollution, there exists a global interest for its utilization. Utilization of fly ash as filler material in polymer composites is considered important from both economic and commercial point of view. In this communication, the effective thermal conductivity and coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) of composites synthesized with fly ash filler embedded in high-density polyethylene (HDPE) matrix is investigated. Incorporation of fly ash in HDPE enhances both the thermal stability and the effective thermal conductivity of the composites. CTE, however, significantly decreases as the FA content increases in HDPE. Effective thermal conductivity for HDPE containing 70-volume fraction (%) fly ash becomes almost twice than that for unfilled HDPE. Results on both the effective thermal conductivity and CTE of HDPE/FA composites have been discussed in light of various theoretical models. Our analysis indicates formation of conductive channels of FA particulates in HDPE, which causes rapid enhancement in the effective thermal conductivity of the HDPE/FA composites. We also confirm the importance of the role of the interphase volume and the strength of the polymer — filler interactions to successfully predict the CTE of HDPE/FA composites.