Modelling Thermal Conductivity of Al-Fe, Al-Ni, and Al-Co Spark Plasma Sintered (SPS) Alloys
Owing to the low density and high thermal conductivity of aluminum alloys, automotive parts are made from aluminum alloys to dissipate high heat energy. This study focused on preparing spark plasma sintered Al-x wt.% Ni/Fe/Co (x = 0.5, 1.0, 1.5, and 3.0) alloys and developing a microstructural finite element modelling approach to predict their thermal conductivity and validating it with experimental and analytical thermal conductivity calculations. Optical and electron microscopy, porosity and microhardness measurements were used to characterize the microstructure. The thermal conductivity of Al-Ni/Fe/Co alloys decreases with increasing composition and it ranged from 225 W/m.K to 180 W/m.K for Al-0.5 wt.% Ni/Fe/Co to Al-3.0 wt.% Ni/Fe/Co alloys, respectively. The models to predict the thermal conductivity of aluminum alloys will explain the microstructural influence on conductivity and enable design of alloys for more demanding thermal/electrical applications.