An Investigation of Thermal Contact Resistance in Thermal Conductivity Measurements of a Thin Nylon Sample

  • M. Satter
  • T. Ashworth


An unguarded plate apparatus was constructed to investigate the effects of contact resistance on measurement accuracy of thermal conductivity of rock samples using a minimum of sample preparation. Measurements were made on a well-characterized Comco nylon sample [1], Interfacial resistance between copper thermometer plates and the nylon sample was clearly evident; using heat fluxes of 10 to 260 Wm-2, apparent thermal conductivity values were respectively 12.0% and 10.3% lower than the values obtained in a linear flow adiabatic apparatus [2]. The inferred contact resistance was apparently slightly dependent upon the heat flux, decreasing from 0.0034 m2KW-l at 10 Win-2 to 0.0023 m2KW-l at 260 Wm-2. All measurements were made with an applied interfacial pressure of 6400 Pa. Conduction enhancement materials (grease, paste and a thin plastic film) were used. The Omegatherm paste [3] and silicone vacuum grease [4] reduced the apparent contact resistance only when large heat fluxes were used. The thin plastic film (polyethylene) did not reduce the apparent contact resistance. Thus, with conductivity measurements of low thermal conductors in the range near 2 (typical of rocks) in this type of apparatus, contact resistance must be taken into account.


Thermal Conductivity Heat Flux Contact Resistance Thermal Contact Resistance Interfacial Resistance 
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Copyright information

© Purdue Research Foundation 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Satter
    • 1
  • T. Ashworth
    • 1
  1. 1.Physics DepartmentSouth Dakota School of Mines and TechnologyRapid CityUSA

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