Formalism of Thermal Waves Applied to the Characterization of Materials Thermal Effusivity

Rev Sci Instrum. 2011 Jul;82(7):074902. doi: 10.1063/1.3600899.

Abstract

Thermal characterization of materials, especially civil engineering materials, in the way of non-destructive methods, are more and more widespread. In this article, we show an original point of view to describe the used method, the thermal waves, to obtain the thermal impedance of the studied system, using a specific sensor--a fluxmeter. The identification technique, based on a frequential approach, is optimized by applying a random input to the system. This kind of random heating is shown to provide a frequency range where the thermal effusivity is able to be identified and not correlated to another parameter. The strength of the method is also the determination of the contact resistance of the system, that allows to validate the identification process. Experimental results obtained from a sample with well-known thermal properties (polyvinyl chloride) are used to validate the proposed method.