Heat spreaders can be made from natural graphite sheet materials. These spreaders take advantage of the anisotropic thermal properties of natural graphite. Natural graphite exhibits a high thermal conductivity in the plane of the sheet combined with a much lower thermal conductivity through the thickness of the sheet. As a result, a natural graphite sheet can function as both a heat spreader and an insulator and can be used to eliminate localized hot spots in electronic components. In some cases, a natural graphite heat spreader can replace a conventional thermal management system consisting of a heat sink and cooling fan. This paper examines the properties of natural graphite heat spreaders and the application of these spreaders to thermal management problems in laptop computers. The thermal and mechanical properties of natural graphite heat spreaders are presented along with a discussion of how those properties are measured. The use of a natural graphite heat spreader to reduce the touch temperature in a laptop computer is presented. Both experimental techniques and numerical models are used to examine performance of the heat spreader in this application.

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