Here, we present a review of recent developments for an off-lattice Monte Carlo approach used to investigate the thermal transport properties of multiphase composites with complex structure. The thermal energy was quantified by a large number of randomly moving thermal walkers. Different modes of heat conduction were modeled in appropriate ways. The diffusive heat conduction in the polymer matrix was modeled with random Brownian motion of thermal walkers within the polymer, and the ballistic heat transfer within the carbon nanotubes (CNTs) was modeled by assigning infinite speed of thermal walkers in the CNTs. Three case studies were conducted to validate the developed approach, including three-phase single-walled CNTs/tungsten disulfide (WS₂)/(poly(ether ether ketone) (PEEK) composites, single-walled CNT/WS₂/PEEK composites with the CNTs clustered in bundles, and complex graphene/poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) composites. In all cases, resistance to heat transfer due to nanoscale phenomena was also modeled. By quantitatively studying the influencing factors on the thermal transport properties of the multiphase composites, it was found that the orientation, aggregation and morphology of fillers, as well as the interfacial thermal resistance at filler-matrix interfaces would limit the transfer of heat in the composites. These quantitative findings may be applied in the design and synthesis of multiphase composites with specific thermal transport properties.
PMID: 28335270 [PubMed - in process]