Simple Guarded Hot Plate Technique for Making Thermal Conductivity Measurements of Composite Materials at Cryogenic Temperatures

  • R. J. Oram
  • E. G. Wolff
Part of the Advances in Cryogenic Engineering book series (ACRE, volume 44)


There is an increasing requirement for the use of composite materials in applications at cryogenic temperatures, especially in spacecraft and liquid propellant propulsion systems. This paper reports on a simple technique for measuring the in-plane thermal conductivity of composite laminate materials between 4K- 300K. The measurement apparatus is constructed entirely within a 5cm diameter, 1.5m long evacuated stainless steel tube. The probe-like device is designed to be immersed in liquid helium contained in a standard transfer dewar. The thermal conductivity of various composite laminates was obtained at temperatures between 5K and 300K. The apparatus was calibrated using a NIST austenitic stainless steel standard reference material (1462). The results suggest that this novel approach is suitable for practical thermal conductivity measurements at cryogenic temperatures, while minimizing the usage of liquid helium.


Thermal Conductivity Liquid Helium Cryogenic Temperature Thermal Conductivity Measurement Pressure Relief Valve 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Altshuler T.L. Cryogenic Mechanical Properties and Thermal Expansion of Various Composite Materials 25 th International SAMPE conference Oct 26–28, 1993.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Wolff E.G. Stiffness-Thermal Expansion Relationships in High Modulus Carbon Fibers Journal of Composite Materials Vol 21 1987.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Guiles M. Liquid Crystal Polymer Cryogenic Storage tank with Reduced Thermal Loss and Weight. proc. 31 St AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint propulsion conference and exhibit July 10–12 1995.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Powell R.L. and Coffin D.O. Thermal Conductivity of Solids at Low Temperatures Adv. Cry. Eng Vol 1 (1960) Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Jezowski A. and Stachowiak P. Cryostat for investigation of the thermal conductivity of cryocrystals. Cryogenics Vol 32, No 6 1992.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Ashworth T. Smith D.R. and Frels W. Helium Conservation Using Solid Nitrogen Adv in Cryogenic Engineering vol 18 (1973) Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    PBO fiber specification sheet from TOYOBO.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    ASTM C177–1997 Test Method for Steady-State Heat Flux Measurement and Thermal Transmission Properties by Means of the Guarded Hot Plate Thermal Conductivity Measurement ApparatusGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    LakeShore Cryotronics, Inc. Installation Instructions for Silicon Diode Temperature Sensor. Document no C2S0038. 1994.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    ASTM C518–91 Test Method for Steady-State Heat Flux Measurement and Thermal Transmission Properties by Means of the Guarded Heat Flux Meter Apparatus.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Precision Measurements and Instruments Corp. Steady State Thermal Conductivity Measurements Theory and Practice. PMIC document no TK12096 1996 Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    California Institute of Electronics and Material Science, Private Communication. July 1995 Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Radcliffe D.J. and Rosenberg H.M. The Thermal Conductivity of glass-fibre and carbon-fibre/epoxy composites from 2 to 80 K. Cryogenics Vol 22 No5 (1982).Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Hartwig G, and Evans D. Nonmetallic Materials and Composites at Low Temperatures. Proc of the International Cryogenic Materials conference p 153 1986.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Heremans J. and Beetz C.P. The Low Temperature Thermal Conductivity of Graphite Fibers. Thermal Conductivity 19 (1988) Ed D.W. Yarborough.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Hust J.G. and Lankford A.B. National Bureau of Standards Certificate SRM 1462 Austenitic Stainless Steel Thermal Conductivity as a function of temperature from 2 to 1200K. Office of Standard Reference Materials Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. J. Oram
    • 1
  • E. G. Wolff
    • 2
  1. 1.Precision Measurements and Instruments CorpPhilomathUSA
  2. 2.Oregon State University Dept. of Mechanical EngineeringCorvallisUSA

Personalised recommendations