NEC Corporation has developed a bioplastic composed of plant-based material and carbon fibre, which has heat conductivity higher than that of stainless steel. The material is expected to make electronic products more environmentally sound while solving conventional heat release issues.
The plastic uses a cross-linked structure of carbon fibre in the polylactic acid (PLA) resin which achieves high heat diffusion. With carbon fibre of 10 per cent and 30 per cent the heat diffusion ability of the new bioplastic composite is comparable to and double that of stainless steel respectively. This enables good heat conductivity in the plane direction of the PLA resin board, which is a characteristic conventionally difficult to attain in metal boards.
The composite is environmentally friendly as it is composed of 90 per cent biomass-based components made from kenaf, a very fast-growing plant. The strength and mouldability of the composite have been verified for use in electronic products.
According to NEC, the bioplastic composite in the housings of electronic products easily releases the heat generated from electronic parts with high temperatures through whole housing surfaces, while slowing up an increase in the temperature of the housings near parts.
NEC hopes to start mass production of the bioplastic composite by March 2009, after which it will start to use the composite in electronic products housing and other applications.