Particle laden polymer composites are widely used as thermal interface materials in the electronics cooling industry. The projected small chip-sizes and high power applications in the near future demand higher values of effective thermal conductivity of the thermal interface materials (TIMs) used between the chip and the heat-spreader and the heat-spreader and heat-sink. However, over two decades of research has not yielded materials with significantly improved effective thermal conductivities. A critical need in developing these TIMs is apriori modeling using fundamental physical principles to predict the effect of particle volume fraction and arrangements on effective behavior. Such a model will enable one to optimize the structure and arrangement of the material. The existing analytical descriptions of thermal transport in particulate systems under predict (as compared to the experimentally observed values) the effective thermal conductivity since these models do not accurately account for the effect of inter-particle interactions, especially when particle volume fractions approach the percolation limits of approximately 60%. Most existing theories are observed to be accurate when filler material volume fractions are less than 30–35%. In this paper, we present a hierarchical, meshless, computational procedure for creating complex microstructures, explicitly analyzing their effective thermal behavior, and mathematically optimizing particle sizes and arrangements. A newly developed object-oriented symbolic, java language framework termed jNURBS implementing the developed procedure is used to generate and analyze representative random microstructures of the TIMs.

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