KFOAM®

Koppers carbon foam – KFOAM® – is a highly-oriented, low density graphite foam structure produced from Koppers anisotropic pitch precursor.

KFOAM® is processed to 2,800° C to form a graphite foam structure. With an apparent density range of 0.40-0.70 g/cc, KFOAM’s open-cell porosity ranges between 55 and 75 percent. This aligned graphite structure (formed during the foaming process) has extremely high thermal conductivity with the highest conductivity in the direction of the foam height or thickness.

In addition to high thermal conductivity, Koppers KFOAM® has demonstrated high strength, high electrical conductivity, and low coefficient of thermal expansion. Koppers offers two high performance grades of KFOAM® commercially: P1 and P1 HD.

Certain patents licensed form UT-Battelle, LLC, management and operating contractor of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, under Patent License Agreement No. PLA1696.

Preconceived Notions: Reconceived Notions

A Minor Tweak to the Laws of Physics

Picture a material with high thermal and electrical conductivity that is also strong and lightweight. What could you create?

This product exists. All these features come together in KFOAM.

Along with its great potential, KFOAM is priced for use in a wide range of product applications. That’s because it is made by Koppers Inc., which has vast experience in manufacturing carbon products. KFOAM offers you exceptional heat management, EMI/RF shielding and acoustical control in a strong, lightweight, easily machined material. What will you build?

Certain patents licensed from UT-Battelle, LLC, management and operating contractor of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, under Patent License Agreement No. PLA658.


 

KFOAM® Applications

KFOAM has the potential for materials development engineers to:

  • Revolutionize thermal management in computers and electrical equipment
  • Develop car radiators that are half the size
  • Create acoustic paneals for walls that shield RF, EMI, noise and remove heat

Heat management, shielding and electrical conductivity in a strong, light-weight, easily-machined material – that’s KFOAM

Shielding

KFOAM has applications for RF/EMI shielding and acoustic qualities giving it strong potential as a material to be used in the construction of wall panels for high security “quiet rooms”, for military or government offices. The acoustic values of KFOAM could benefit manufacturing or military environments with high noise factors.

Electrical Conductivity

When used in batteries, KFOAM has possibilities due to its electrical and thermal conductivity properties in lithium-ion and specialty battery applications.

Heat Management

The electronics market is driven by a need for increased performance and function, at ever lighter weights and smaller sizes. Increasing power density creates greater heat loads. So heat flux removal technology is needed to dissipate the generated heat load while maintaining lower operating temperatures, which assure reliability, and higher processor speed. KFOAM can help meet these needs.

Because of the low density and high thermal conductivity of KFOAM it has promising uses in heat management devices such as in thermosyphons, heat sinks, radiators, and heat exchangers. These applications could use KFOAM as a replacement material for: copper, aluminum, and steel. KFOAM can be used to provide cooling includes computer electronics, space radiators, communication amplifiers, and industrial air-cooled heat exchangers.

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Material Properties

Koppers Knows Carbon

As the demand for smaller, lighter and more efficient heat management systems increases, the need for new materials such as KFOAM grows:

Conductivity

KFOAM has highly ordered graphitic ligaments for high thermal conductivity greater than 100 W/m·K, making it an excellent heat management material.

Thermal Management

  • With a thermal conductivity similar to aluminum, KFoam has one-fifth the density, making it an excellent thermal management material.
  • In a heat sink, KFOAM enables the transfer of large amounts of energy with relatively low temperature difference, without the need for external pumping
  • As much as 149 watts can be dissipated from a 1 cm2 heated area.
  • KFOAM has a coefficient of thermal expansion that is close to silicon.
  • Uniform density throughout the foam piece results in more consistent machining with less waste.

Low Density

KFOAM is a lightweight material with a density range of 0.35 ' 0.60 g/cc.

Strong

Although low in density, KFOAM has a compressive strength of 3.5 MPa, and is able to perform as a stand-alone material. It can also be bonded to other materials to enhance their properties.
 

Permeable

Open porosity of 75' 80 percent.
 

Machineable

Uniform density throughout KFOAM results in more consistent machining with less waste. KFOAM can be cut into various shapes and configurations to meet your requirements.
 

Affordable

Using our carbon foam precursor, existing carbon technology and processing capabilities, Koppers is able to economically manufacture KFOAM for a variety of applications.

The possibilities are unlimited ' the reality is up to you.

Property

Units

Carbon Foam Grade L1

Carbon Foam Grade L1A

Carbon Foam Grade D1

Density

[g/cc]

0.49

0.39

0.46

Compressive Strength

MPa

3.4

1.1

2.5

Compressive Modulus

GPa

0.307

0.119

0.396

Tensile Strength

MPa

ND

0.65

3.5

Flexural Strength

MPa

3.2

1.52

1.7

Flexural Modulus

MPa

264

164

290

Shear Strength

MPa

0.20

0.54

0.67

Coefficient of Thermal Expansion

E-6/C @ 650°

2.03

2.80

0.36

Thermal Conductivity -Z

W/m*K

57.9

27.9

100

Electrical Resistivity -Z

µΩ*m

25.1

38.8

30.9

Average Pore Size

µM

625

500

670

Average Pore Volume

%

70

78

72

Air Permeability

cm-g-sec

84

92

92

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Product Description

KFOAM, from Koppers, is a highly oriented, low density, porous carbon structure produced from a Koppers carbon specialty pitch called mesophase pitch. This foam is produced using high temperatures and pressures. The resulting foam structure is then heat-treated to temperatures of approximately 2800°C to form a graphitic foam structure.


The foaming process that Koppers uses creates a structure of highly aligned ligaments within the cell walls of the foam which is then graphitized. This property gives the foam its high thermal conductivity.

Besides its natural relevance (uses) in thermal management, KFOAM can improve the function, weight or strength of existing products. The possibilities are yours to discover.

Koppers can use any of three different feedstocks to produce mesophase pitch, resulting in a range of quality grades of foam suitable for various purposes. Drawing on our years of research with carbon pitch, we are able to produce foam at much lower pressures and temperatures. This keeps the cost of production at a realistic level, allowing us to offer a KFOAM at various specifications for different applications and markets.

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Ordering & Pricing Information

Carbon foam pieces are produced in a standard size of 6"x 6" x 1" thick. Larger sizes are available upon special order request. Please allow 6 weeks lead time for special orders.

The list price for grade L1 and L1a carbon foam is $180.00 per standard size piece (36 in³). The list price for grade D1 carbon foam is $216.00 per standard size piece (36 in³).

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