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Thermally Conductive Plastics to be used in Wiring Devices

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000240467D
Publication Date: 2015-Feb-02
Document File: 1 page(s) / 20K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

Thermally conductive plastics could be the next wave in thermal management for all devices in the lighting and wiring device industry. As technology advances and evolves, so must the supporting industry that encapsulates this technology. One of the biggest challenges to overcome is thermal management within wiring devices. Agency standards drive engineering to come up with more unique and sometimes complex ways to manage heat coming from internal heating elements or components. This is especially true as there is a demand to place more electronics in smaller spaces all while achieving higher performance standards. The task to achieve a cooler running device falls on the product design team. As the electronics get more complex and space within the wiring devices become scarce there is a need for the product design team’s role in the thermal management. One of the ways to address heat issues in the devices is to use thermally conductive materials to ultimately spread the heat over large surface areas and average down the temperature of the whole device. Since the most thermally conductive materials that are cost effective for most applications are electrically conductive, the challenge increases to find space to maintain dielectric properties. There is now a new technology of thermally conductive plastics that uses organic blends of material within the plastic to spread the heat in the plane of the plastic. While thermally conductive plastics are not as thermally conductive as certain metals, they maintain the electrical insulation of plastics and the infinite formability of injection molded parts. This becomes very attractive for mechanical engineers for complex designs and thermal management. In testing with standard wiring devices, such as the Leviton T5632 USB Charger product, compared to standard molded plastic parts, some of the industry’s latest thermally conductive plastics, it was found that temperatures would drop as much as 10 degrees on the design’s most sensitive components. With proper design techniques recommended from the manufacturers of the thermally conductive plastic material and using proper molding parameters, it may be possible to get the temperature down even further. The exterior temperature of the housing does increase as a whole, however since the entire housing is a big heat sink, the average temperature of the device overall drops. This technology opens the door up to much more complex line of devices and frees up design possibilities for future designs. Cooler running switches could be built with greater load ratings, thereby, reducing the amount of switches needed in a multi-gang application. In addition, USB charging devices would be able to handle higher loads.

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Thermally Conductive Plastics to be used in Wiring Devices

            Thermally conductive plastics could be the next wave in thermal management for all devices in the lighting and wiring device industry. As technology advances and evolves, so must the supporting industry that encapsulates this technology.  One of the biggest challenges to overcome is thermal management within wiring devices.  Agency standards drive engineering to come up with more unique and sometimes complex ways to manage heat coming from internal heating elements or components.  This is especially true as there is a demand to place more electronics in smaller spaces all while achieving higher performance standards.

            The task to achieve a cooler running device falls on the product design team.  As the electronics get more complex and space within the wiring devices become scarce there is a need for the product design team’s role in the thermal management.  One of the ways to address heat issues in the devices is to use thermally conductive materials to ultimately spread the heat over large surface areas and average down the temperature of the whole device.  Since the most thermally conductive materials that are cost effective for most applications are electrically conductive, the challenge increases to find space to maintain dielectric properties.

            There is now a new technology of thermally conductive plastics that uses organic blends of material within th...