Characterization of the Temperature Oscillation Technique to Measure the Thermal Conductivity of Fluids

TitleCharacterization of the Temperature Oscillation Technique to Measure the Thermal Conductivity of Fluids
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsBhattacharya, Prajesh, S. Nara, P. Vijayan, T. Tang, W. Lai, Patrick E. Phelan, Ravi S. Prasher, David W. Song, and J. Wang
JournalInternational Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer
Start Page2950
Date Published08/2006
KeywordsTemperature oscillation technique, Thermal conductivity, thermal diffusivity

The temperature oscillation technique to measure the thermal diffusivity of a fluid consists of filling a cylindrical volume with the fluid, applying an oscillating temperature boundary condition at the two ends of the cylinder, measuring the amplitude and phase of the temperature oscillation at any point inside the cylinder, and finally calculating the fluid thermal diffusivity from the amplitude and phase values of the temperature oscillations at the ends and at the point inside the cylinder. Although this experimental technique was introduced by Santucci and co-workers nearly two decades ago, its application is still limited, perhaps because of the perceived difficulties in obtaining accurate results. Here, we attempt to clarify this approach by first estimating the maximum size of the liquid’s cylindrical volume, performing a systematic series of experiments to find the allowable amplitude and frequency of the imposed temperature oscillations, and then validating our experimental setup and the characterization method by measuring the thermal conductivity of pure water at different temperatures and comparing our results with previously published work.