We report on measurements of thermal conductivity in single-walled carbon nanotube (SWCNT) aerogels in vacuum, and as infiltrated by different gases. The remarkable thermal, mechanical and electrical properties of single CNTs have led to great interest in bulk carbon nanotube materials, including the CNT aerogels. Carbon nanotube aerogels are light-weight (7–8kg/m3) and porous, which means that heat will be conducted in parallel through the SWCNT matrix and the filling gas. The overall thermal conductivity of the aerogel was measured with helium, and argon filling gases, using a modified 3ω method designed to interrogate low thermal effusivity materials. Measurements of thermal conductivity at vacuum are 0.023 W/m-K and at atmospheric pressure infiltrated SWCNT aerogels have thermal conductivities in helium of 0.19 W/m-K and in argon of 0.039 W/m-K. Our vacuum measurement suggests that transport within the aerogel is limited by the thermal interface resistance between SWCNTs, rather than by phonon transport within the SWCNT itself. We have also extracted the mean distance traveled by gas molecules between collisions with SWCNT aerogel by fitting the gas contribution to thermal conductivity using a kinetic theory based model.

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