As a new type of functional material, porous graphite foam exhibits unique thermal physical properties and geometric characteristics in heat transfer applications. It has the advantages of low density, high specific surface area, high porosity and high bulk thermal conductivity, which can be used as the core component of small, lightweight, compact and efficient heat sinks. Effective thermal conductivity serves one of the key thermophysical properties for foam-cored heat sinks. The complex three-dimensional topology and interstitial fluids significantly affect the heat conduction through such kind of porous structures, reflecting a topologically based effective thermal conductivity. This paper presents a novel geometric model for representing the microstructure of graphite foams, with simplifications and modifications made on the actual pore structure of graphite foam. For calculation simplicity, we convert the realized geometry consisting of complex surfaces and tortuous ligaments into a simplified geometry with circular ligaments joined at cuboid nodes, on the basis of the volume equivalency rule. The multiple-layer method is used to divide the proposed geometry into solvable areas and the series-parallel relations are used to derive the analytical model for effective thermal conductivity. To physically explore the heat conduction mechanisms at pore scale, direction numerical simulations were conducted on the reconstructed geometric model. Achieving good agreement with experimental data, the present analytical model (based on the simplified geometry) is validated. Further, the numerically simulated conductivities follow the model prediction, favoring thermally that the two geometries are equal. The present geometry model is more realized and capable of reflecting the internal microstructure of graphite foam, which will benefit the understandings for the thermo-physical mechanisms of pore-scaled heat conduction and micro structures of graphite foam.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.