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Home-built Apparatus for Measuring Thermal Conductivity of Glass and Polymer Materials

  • William R. Heffner (a1), Shera Demchak (a2), John Scruggs (a3) and Ray Pearson (a4)

Abstract

As a part of the IMI-NFG’s series of low-cost experiments in glass science [1,2] we have developed a simple home-built apparatus for measuring the thermal conductivity of glassy materials, from polymers to oxide glasses, in the range of 0.1 to 1.5 W/ °C. Our apparatus is inexpensive, relatively easy to construct and accurate enough for students to use for quantitative measurements of their own glass or polymer samples. Standard materials are used to demonstrate good correlation with literature values. We also measured the thermal conductivity of a silica filled epoxy and showed a linear increase with fill fraction to 20%. This simple, low-cost method can provide students and researchers with a much broader access to this important property.

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1. Heffner, William R. and Jain, Himanshu, MRS Proceedings, 1233, (2009).
2. Heffner, William R. and Jain, Himanshu, “Low-cost, experimental curriculum in materials science using candy glass - Part 2: home-built apparatuses”, presented at 2013 Fall MRS Meeting, Boston (accepted for publication to MRS Proceedings).
3. ASTM Standard E1952, 2011, “Thermal Conductivity and Thermal Diffusivity by Modulated Temperature Differential Scanning Calorimetry,” ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2011, wwwastm.org.
4. Marcus, S.M. and Blaine, R. L., “Thermal Conductivity of polymers glasses and ceramics by modulated DSC”, Thermochimica Acta, 243, 231 (1994).
5. See for example the DTC-25 or DTC-300 Thermal Conductivity Meters from TA Instruments or their more expensive Flash Diffusivity Systems all described on their website at http://thermophysical.tainstruments.com/instruments/thermal-conductivity-meters/

Keywords

Home-built Apparatus for Measuring Thermal Conductivity of Glass and Polymer Materials

  • William R. Heffner (a1), Shera Demchak (a2), John Scruggs (a3) and Ray Pearson (a4)

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