Lockheed Martin Corporation (Bethesda, MD)

Articles containing a matrix material and plurality of copper nanoparticles in the matrix material that are at least partially fused together are described. The copper nanoparticles are smaller than 20 nanometers in size. These copper nanoparticles fuse together at temperatures and pressures much less than bulk copper. In general, the melting temperatures decrease as the applied pressure, as well as a decrease in the size of the copper nanoparticles. The size of the copper nanoparticles can be varied by adjusting the reaction conditions the use of surfactants, for instance, systems, addition rates and temperatures. Percolation pathways that are thermally conductive can be created within the matrix material through copper nanoparticles which are at least partially fused together.

Nanoparticles can exhibit physical and chemical characteristics that sometimes differ from those found in the bulk material. Copper nanoparticles can have a lower melting point than bulk copper. Copper nanoparticles that have a smaller size range and smaller nanoparticle dimensions than 20 nanometers melt with lower pressures and temperatures than the larger copper nanoparticles as well as bulk copper.

Copper nanoparticles may be of significant interest due, inter alia, to the extensive industrial use of copper in bulk, the production of monodisperse copper nanoparticles is an issue for synthetic synthesis. It is difficult to make copper nanoparticles that have a narrow size range of less than 20 nanometers. Solutions-based chemical reduction techniques have generally produced nanoparticles with unusual shapes, broad size ranges, and/or nanoparticles that are much bigger than 20 nanometers. Many methods of synthesizing copper nanoparticles can’t be scaled up.

There are only a few ways that are scalable to produce monodisperse copper nanoparticles that have small sizes of nanoparticles. One readily scalable procedure for synthesizing copper nanoparticles having nanoparticle sizes belowabout 20 nm, more particularly below about 10 nm, involves heating a copper salt solution, a bidentate diamine (e.g., a N,N’-dialkylethylenediamine), and one or more C6-C18 alkylamines. Copper nanoparticles made by this method are fusion-resistant and have a temperature less than 200.degree. C. The fusion temperature declining with the size of the nanoparticle. Nanoparticles of copper the size described above have also been made by the reduction of a copper sodium in the presence ascorbicacid. Although copper nanoparticles in this size range can be isolated, studied and used, they have a short shelf life. If the copper nanoparticles haven’t been melted after heating they can cause rapid oxidation.

With regard to the preceding, facile use of copper nanoparticles with sizes that are less than about 20 nm would be of substantial benefit in the art. This need is met by the present invention, which has a number of advantages.

In various forms, articles containing a matrix material and many copper nanoparticles within the matrix material are discussed in this document. Copper nanoparticles may be at most partially fused together and are of a size less than 20 nanometers.

In different examples, the compositions of the present disclosure include a plurality of copper nanoparticles that are smaller than about 20 nanometers in size. They also contain the surfactant system that includes a bidentate diamine and one or more C6-C18alkylamines and a matrix material chosen from the group comprising a polymer matrix and a rubber matrix a ceramic matrix, a metal matrix and a glass matrix.

In various embodiments, the methods described in the present disclosure comprise making a number of copper nanoparticles that are less than about 20 nanometers in size mixing the various copper nanoparticles into a matrix material, and applying at leastone of pressure or heat to at most partially bind the plurality of copper nanoparticles together.

In various other examples, methods described in this disclosure comprise creating an article comprising an underlying matrix material and a plurality of copper nanoparticles which have been at least partially fused within the matrix material and putting the object in thermal contact with a heating source. The copper nanoparticles are smaller than 20 nm in size.

In still other various variations, the techniques of the disclosed invention include providing a plurality of copper nanoparticles mixed with a matrix to create a paste, placing the paste between a first and a secondmember, and joining the first member with the second member by at most partially fusing the plurality of copper nanoparticles together. A number of copper nanoparticles measure less than 20 nanometers and contain a surfactant system that contains a bidentate diamine as well as one or more C6?C18 alkylamines and, possibly, other C6-C18 alkylamines.

In order to make it easier for you to understand the details of the disclosure the preceding provides a general overview of the key characteristics. The claims will also outline the additional advantages and features of the disclosure.

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