An Optimal Guarding Scheme for Thermal Conductivity Measurement Using a Guarded Cut-Bar Technique, Part I: Experimental Study

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Applied Thermal Engineering





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In the guarded cut-bar technique, a guard surrounding the measured sample and reference (meter) bars is temperature controlled to carefully regulate heat losses from the sample and reference bars. Guarding is typically carried out by matching the temperature profiles between the guard and the test stack of sample and meter bars. Problems arise in matching the profiles, especially when the thermal conductivities of the meter bars and of the sample differ, as is usually the case. In a previous numerical study, the applied guarding condition (guard temperature profile) was found to be an important factor in measurement accuracy. Different from the linear-matched or isothermal schemes recommended in literature, the optimal guarding condition is dependent on the system geometry and thermal conductivity ratio of sample to meter bar. To validate the numerical results, an experimental study was performed to investigate the resulting error under different guarding conditions using stainless steel 304 as both the sample and meter bars. The optimal guarding condition was further verified on a certified reference material, pyroceram 9606, and 99.95% pure iron whose thermal conductivities are much smaller and much larger, respectively, than that of the stainless steel meter bars. Additionally, measurements are performed using three different inert gases to show the effect of the insulation effective thermal conductivity on measurement error, revealing low conductivity, argon gas, gives the lowest error sensitivity when deviating from the optimal condition. The result of this study provides a general guideline for the specific measurement method and for methods requiring optimal guarding or insulation.

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