Rare Metals

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Boron nitride/agarose hydrogel composites with high thermal conductivities

  • Ali Yazdan
  • Ji-Zhe Wang
  • Bing-Kun Hu
  • Wen-Sheng Xie
  • Ling-Yun Zhao
  • Ce-Wen Nan
  • Liang-Liang LiEmail author


Hydrogels are cross-linked polymers suitable for various applications, but the thermal conductivities of hydrogel-based composites have not been thoroughly investigated. In this study, agarose hydrogel-based composites with various boron nitride (BN) fillers were synthesized and their thermal conductivities were systematically investigated. With the increase in the agarose content from 1.5 wt% to 3.0 wt%, the thermal conductivity of the composite decreased. The composites with BN micropowder had larger thermal conductivities than those of the composites with BN nanopowder at the same filler loading, as the BN micropowder provided better thermal conduction pathways in the hydrogel matrix than those provided by the nanopowder. The maximum thermal conductivity of 2.69 W·m−1·K−1 was achieved when 15 wt% microscale BN fillers were added into 1.5 wt% agarose hydrogel, which was 3.5 times larger than that of the pure agarose hydrogel. Additionally, a theoretical model was used to calculate the thermal conductivities of the BN/agarose hydrogel composites; a good agreement was achieved between the experimental and fitting ones. This study demonstrated that the thermal conductivities of hydrogel-based materials can be efficiently and significantly enhanced using BN fillers.

Graphic Abstract


Hydrogel Boron nitride Thermal conductivity Composite 



This work was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 51572149), Science and Technology on Advanced Ceramic Fibers and Composites Laboratory, Opening Project of Engineering Research Center of Nano-Geo Materials of Ministry of Education of China University of Geosciences (No. NGM2018KF010), the National Key Research and Development Program of China (No. 2016YFA0201003) and the Fund of Key Laboratory of Advanced Materials of Ministry of Education (No. 2017AML11). We thank Jabran Ahmad in School of Environment at Tsinghua University for providing us Milli-Q Ultrapure Water and Yajie Huang in School of Materials Science and Engineering at Tsinghua University for the help on AFM.


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Copyright information

© The Nonferrous Metals Society of China and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of New Ceramics and Fine Processing, School of Materials Science and EngineeringTsinghua UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.Engineering Research Center of Nano-Geo Materials of Ministry of EducationChina University of GeosciencesWuhanChina

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