Heat conductive nanomaterials based on graphene

Title of the research project 

INTHERM - Design, manufacturing and control of INterfaces in THERMally conductive polymer nanocomposites

 Scientific area

Materials Engineering, Materials Chemistry

Project coordinator

Alberto Fina


The INTHERM project addresses the big challenge of how to tailor heat transfer across interfaces in polymer nanocomposites, by developing and applying the concept of thermal bridging at the interface between graphene particles in a network.

Description of the research project 

In the last decade, a significant research effort has been devoted to the development of thermally conductive polymer composites and nanocomposites, by the use of carbon nanotubes and graphenes, with very variable results, depending on the nanoparticle type and quality as well as the dispersion into the polymer .

The INTHERM project will make use of (chemically functionalized) graphene nanoparticles in the polymeric matrix, realizing engineered thermal contacts between the particles that will act as “thermal bridges” allowing an efficient heat transport. The innovative project approach lies in concentrating the research effort on the quality of the thermal contact between particles and not just on maximizing the number of contacts.

The expected results will contribute to the fundamental understanding of heat transfer in complex solids and will introduce a new generation of advanced materials coupling high thermal conductivity with low density, ease of processing, toughness and corrosion resistance.

Impact on society 

The project paves the way to new advanced materials with a thermal efficiency impossible to reach at the current state of knowledge and applications to different fields, like for example the realization of plastic-based heatexchangers for the use in flexible electronics, corrosive environments and low temperature heat recovery, with direct potential impact on energy savings in household, transport and industial applications.

Short CV of project coordinator 

Alberto Fina is Assistant professor at the Department of Applied Science and Technology of Politecnico di Torino. He holds a Materials Engineering degree and a Ph.D in materials Science and technology from the same University. In his career, he has also carried out activities in other foreign institutions such as National Graduate School of Engineering Chemistry of Lille (France), Beijing Institute of Technology (China), University of Texas in Austin (USA) and Queen Mary College in London (United Kingdom).His research deals with polymeric nanocomposites for thermal conductivity improvement and has been involved in European projects such as Thermonano and Nanocool . He is co-author of more than  45 scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals.


Research group 

Alberto  Fina is currently coordinating  a research group of 3 post docs and 4 PhD student.

International collaborations are currently ongoing with several research gropus, including the Advanced materials multiscale modelling group at Bauhaus-Universität Weimar (D), the Nanochemistry Laboratory at the university of Strasbourg (F), the Cambridge Graphene Centre (UK) and the Molecular Functional Materials group at Dresden Technical University.

    INTHERM project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme  grant agreement No 639495

  • Budget: 1.404.132
  • Start date: 1/03/2015
  • End date: 29/02/2020