Design and construction of a thermal contact resistance and thermal conductivity measurement system
Deigel, Christopher R.
Sathe, Sanjeev B.
Hobson, Garth V.
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This study was aimed at the development of an accurate thermal contact resistance and thermal conductivity measurement system that was simple enough to be constructed and operated by multiple users. A method based on Fourier’s Law of Conduction was developed. The purpose of this device is to analyze component interfaces and advanced material applications within Department of Defense’s energy systems to improve fuel efficiency and performance. Comprehensive details of the design, construction, and operation of the experimental device are presented. Challenges included maintaining one-dimensional conduction, uniformity of temperature distribution, control of heat loss, and sample to plate interface resistance control. Numerical heat transfer and uncertainty analyses with applied engineering judgement were extensively used to come up with an optimized design and construction method that guaranteed high accuracy and replicability. Accurate measurements are demonstrated by analyzing Pyroceram 9606 and 99.8% Alumina reference samples. Results indicate capability to measure thermal conductivity from 0.1 to 40 W/m-K with respective accuracy within 3–6.5%. Ability to reduce result uncertainty within 10% is achieved. Replicability analysis indicates reproducible results within 6% for different users. Recommendations are provided for experimental research utilizing the proposed measurement system addressing current heat transfer issues facing the Department of Defense.
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