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Heat flux transducers have been used for the past 30 years to measure heat generation and transmission. The transducers have been made using thermopile principles with multiple junctions on opposite sides of an insulating core. Junctions have been made from welded ribbons with selective notching and folding, metallized foils, printed circuit with dissimilar junctions, and constantan wire plated with copper or silver. The overall electrical and thermal efficiency of the plated system can be in the range of 80%.
The characteristics of commercial heat flux transducers are described, ranging from very small to very large, rigid to flexible, and low to high sensitivities.
ASTM has two task groups actively developing standard practices for the use of heat flux transducers on pipelines and on buildings; both groups have had multiple ballots of initial drafts and will be ready for subcommittee ballot in the near future.
Flexible belt-type heat flux transducers have been used by the author for measuring insulation performance on steam lines. Good information was obtained showing areas of superior insulation performance and areas of deficiency or inadequacy.
thermopiles, in situ, heat flow, heat flow measurement, heat flow sensors, heat flux transducers
Research director, Hauser Laboratories, Boulder, CO