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31 March 2017

Temperature Distribution for Steady-State Conduction of

Energy and Thermal Conductivity Measurements

Business or Academic Affiliation 1, City, State, Zip Code

Abstract Rc = contact thermal resistance

From the definition of conduction, it is transfer T = change in temperature

of internal heat energy across a medium due to a
temperature gradient, and direct microscopic V = voltage
collision. Fourier law is the governing equation for
Conduction heat transfer. The use of Fourier law We = electrical power
to determine the heat flux depends on the
knowledge of the manner in which temperature
varies within the medium (the temperature Introduction
distribution).Fourier's law is applicable to both
steady state conditions as well as to transient, Conduction heat transfer is a molecular
multidimensional conduction in complex phenomenon of heat transfer from molecules with
geometry. The aim of the following paper is to higher energy to the adjacent molecules with lower
measure the temperature distribution for steady- energy due to the microscopic interactions between
state conduction of heat energy through uniform the molecules. The vibrations of the molecules in
plane wall and demonstrate the effect of a change their lattice and the energy transport by free electrons
in heat flow. The second objective is to determine cause the molecular energy in solids. The geometry
the thermal conductivity of typical metals and of the conducting medium, material of the medium,
insulators: brass, stainless steel and aluminum thickness, and the temperature gradient across the
with a experimental setup. The observations from medium determine the rate of heat conduction
the experiment are compared with the analytical through a medium. The rate of heat conduction
data. through a surface is directly proportional to the
cross section area and the temperature gradient across
the medium, and is inversely proportional to the
Nomenclature thickness of the medium. Thermal conductivity of the
material, which differs for all materials, is considered
A = cross-section area
as the constant of proportionality. Thermal
conductivity is a material property that determines
hc = thermal contact conductance
the ability to conduct heat. Fourier law equation
relates the rate of heat conduction to the temperature
I = current difference across the layer, the heat transfer area, the
thickness of the layer and the constant of
k = thermal conductivity
proportionality, i.e. thermal conductivity.
L = distance between two thermal couple

Q = rate of heat transfer

Higher the value of thermal conductivity indicates properties, the pressure level and temperature at
a good heat conductor and an insulator or a poor the surface and the type of fluid present in between.
conductor of heat has a comparatively low value of The thermal contact resistance can be minimized by
thermal conductivity. applying thermally conducting liquid called thermal
grease such as silicon oil on the surfaces before they
To measure the thermal conductivity of a are pressed against each other.
material, the material sample is sandwiched between
a heating element and a cooling element made of This experiment is very important when selecting
similar material as shown in Error! Reference material to be applied in section where temperature is
source not found.. very crucial.


The electrical power consumed by the resistance

heater and converted to heat is

We VI (1)

Fouriers law of heat conduction

. T
Q kA (2)
Figure 1 Apparatus to measure thermal
conductivity The thermal conductivity of the sample is
determined to be
The outer surfaces (cylindrical surface) of the
samples are completely insulated making that heat .
transfer is axial direction the samples is one- k (3)
dimensional. At a constant distance L apart AT
thermocouples are embedded into the sample, and the
The heat transfer area is the area along to the
temperature drop, T , along each sample is
direction of heat flow, and for the following
obtained from the differential thermometer. When
experiment it is the cross-sectional area of the
steady operating conditions are reached, the total rate
of heat transfer through the heating brass, samples
and cooling brass becomes equal to the electric
power drawn by the heater, which is determined by A d2 (4)
multiplying the electric current by the voltage. 4

A load is applied to press the contact surfaces Equation for the contact resistance,
with one another. The voids are filled with air in
between valleys and the peaks will mesh completely Tint erface
Rc (5)
into the material. Because of the low thermal Q/ A
conductivity, the air trapped in the voids act as
insulation. The interface offers some resistance to
heat transfer, and the resistance offered per unit
interface area is called the thermal contact resistance.
The value of thermal contact resistance depends on
the roughness of the material surface, material
Results: Graph of temperature against axial
diastance of thermal couples
A. Available data 45.0

Samples available 35.0
Brass, D = 25 mm and L = 30 mm, T4 25.0
and T5 20.0
Stainless steel, D = 25 mm and L = 30 10.0
mm, no thermocouples
0 50 100 150
Aluminum, D = 25 mm and L = 30 mm,
no thermocouples Axial distance, mm

Heat transfer area Figure 2: Plot of temperature vs. axial distance for the
steady state temperature distributions (Brass sample
Calculate the heat transfer area from equation 4.
It should be noted all sample are of similar
dimensions. That is diameter d, =25mm

A d2

Graph of temperature against axial
4.904 104 m2 45.0
diastance of thermal couples

The graph of temperature vs. axial distance was 35.0

generated during the steady state temperature 30.0
distributions. From the Zeroth law, the steady state 25.0
condition or equilibrium is achieved if the heating
element, the cooling element and the sample under 10.0
consideration conduct heat at the same rate equal to 5.0
the heat generated by the resistance heater. To 0.0
determine the thermal conductivity of the heating 0 50 100 150
Axial distance, mm
element and the cooling element, they must conduct
heat at the same time as produced by the resistive
Figure 3: Plot of temperature vs. axial distance for
the steady state temperature distributions (Aluminum
Steady state condition is defined as the Condition
when the temperature gradient between the
temperature of the heating element and the cooling
element becomes small or equals zero.
B. Thermal conductivity

The thermal conductivity was determined with Using equation 3

the help of equation 3. The results are shown in the
table. This shows both the values determined
experimentally and the theoretical data. k
Experimental Theoretical
Thermal Thermal The contact resistances will be1.325e-4m2oC/W
Conductivity, k Conductivity, k and 8.843e-5m2oC/W between the hot and insert and
between the cold and insert sections respectively.
W/moC W/moC

Brass 107.7 110 Discussion

Aluminum 113.59 117 From the figures 2 to 5, it is concluded that the

temperature distribution is linear. Under the steady-
state conditions the temperature distribution can be
C. Contact resistance
considered to be linear. The temperature drop at the
The contact resistance was determined using interfaces of the surfaces is observed from the
equation 6. The thermal contact conductance used in experiment. The temperature drop is caused by the
equation 6 was determined using equation 5 contact resistance. All the graphs look similar to what
was determined as follows. was expected. The negative gradient in the graphs is
according to the Fourier Law.

The calculated value of thermal conductivity for

The temperature vs. axial relationship is linear as brass is very close to the theoretical value. The steady
seen from the graph. From the following equation, state condition is considered to be approached but in
determine the temperature at any given point along real case it can be never be approached. Due to this, a
the axis of the sample deviation occurs between the experimental value and
theoretical value. This applies to Aluminum. For
= + ( 6) aluminum, the deviation from the experimental value
and the theoretical value of thermal conductivity is
Consider the experiment performed on the brass large. In both cases, the total heat supplied by the
sample with a gradient, for the heating element resistance heater is considered to be conducted
equal to 0.28/ from the equation. The gradient entirely. Due to the hysteresis loss, and the heat
for the sample and the cooling element are calculated transfer losses to the other parts, the entire heat
to be 0.273/ and 0.27 respectively. The cannot be conducted.
temperatures at the interface are, 33 &
17.725for the heating element end and cooling
element interface end respectively. Similarly the
temperature of the sample interface ends faces are
20.56 and 4.25. Therefore the temperature
difference at heating interface and the cooling
interface will be 4.25 and 2.835 respectively.
Conclusion References

This experiment concluded that the one-

dimensional conduction of heat with temperature 1) F. Kreith and M. S. Bohn., Principles of
distribution can be assumed to be linear with Heat Transfer, 6th ed., Pacific Grove,
minimum error. To obtain the thermal conductivity CA: Brooks/Cole, 2001,
nearer to the theoretical value without much
deviation, the state of all the constituents must be 2) A. F. Mills. Basic Heat and Mass
nearer to the steady state. The thermal conductivity of Transfer. 2nd ed. Upper Saddle River,
the material considered in the following experiment NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1999.
has magnitude much greater than the thermal contact 3) E. Fried. Thermal Conduction
resistance of the materials. The influence of the Contribution to Heat Transfer at
thermal contact resistance must be considered only Contacts. Thermal Conductivity, vol. 2,
for the materials with high thermal conductivity. Ed .R. P. Tye. London: Academic Press,
4) Y. A. engel and Robert H. Turner.,
Fundamental of thermal-fluid science,
2nd ed., Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole,