Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


Heng Ban


To improve measurement reliability and repeatability and resolve the orders of magnitude discrepancy between the two different measurements (via reduced model transient electrothermal and lock-in IR thermography), this dissertation details the development of three complementary methods to accurately measure the thermal properties of the natural and synthetic Nephila (N.) clavipes spider dragline fibers. The thermal conductivity and diffusivity of the dragline silk of the N. clavipes spider has been characterized by one research group to be 151-416 W m−1 K −1 and 6.4-12.3 ×10−5 m2 s −1 , respectively, for samples with low to high strains (zero to 19.7%). Thermal diffusivity of the dragline silk of a different spider species, Araneus diadematus, has been determined by another research group as 2 ×10−7 m2 s −1 for un-stretched silk. This dissertation seeks to resolve this discrepancy by three complementary methods. The methods detailed are the transient electrothermal technique (in both reduced and full model versions), the 3ω method (for both current and voltage sources), and the non-contact, photothermal, quantum-dot spectral shape-based fluorescence thermometry method. These methods were also validated with electrically conductive and non-conductive fibers. The resulting thermal conductivity of the dragline silk is 1.2 W m−1 K −1 , the thermal diffusivity is 6 ×10−7 m2 s −1 , and the volumetric heat capacity is 2000 kJ m−3 K −1 , with an uncertainty of about 12% for each property