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Thermal Conductivity and Diffusivity

A proposed new ASTM International standard will aid in understanding thermal transport properties, an important component in optimizing the energy efficiency of building materials and improving thermal design in electronics, fuel cells and batteries.

The test described in WK46204, Test Method for Determination of Thermal Conductivity and Thermal Diffusivity of Solids and Fluids Using the Transient Plane Source or Hot Disc Method, can be designed to match different specimen sizes and to allow for measurements to be made in gaseous and vacuum environments at a range of temperatures and pressures. The test can be conducted on a wide range of materials with limited effort required for sample preparation. Solid state components made from materials such as composites, single-phase and granular material can be tested. In addition, testing per WK46204 can also be performed on liquids from low-viscosity fluids to high-viscosity plates.

“WK46204 will most likely be used by laboratories developing or modifying new materials and studying how specific materials behave at different temperatures and pressures,” says ASTM member Mattias Gustavsson, Ph.D., CEO of Hot Disk AB. “The proposed standard will be useful for applications and quality control testing in the pharmaceutical, automobile and aviation industries.”

Gustavsson cites three main ways in which WK46204 will be used once it has been approved:

  • Development or assessment of thermally insulated materials;
  • Development or assessment of thermally conductive materials or composite structures; and
  • Empirically connecting hot disc test results with variations in structural constitution of a material.

WK46204 is being developed by Subcommittee E37.05 on Thermophysical Properties, part of ASTM International Committee E37 on Thermal Measurements. All interested parties are welcome to join in the standards developing activities of E37.

CONTACT Technical Information: Mattias Gustavsson, Ph.D., Hot Disk AB • Gothenburg, Sweden • Phone: +46-31-411-410 • Email: mattias.gustavsson@hotdiskinstruments.com O ASTM Staff: Thomas O’Toole • Phone: 610-832-9739 • Email: totoole@astm.org O Upcoming Meeting: Aug. 29 • University of Delaware Center for Composite Materials, Newark, Del.

This article appears in the issue of Standardization News.