Heat Transfer Fluids

Temperature management and heat transfer are essential components of industrial processes and systems. Heat transfer fluids (HTFs) are often used in cases where materials or devices need to be heated, cooled or maintained at stable operating temperatures. Such fluids serve to absorb, transports and dissipate heat in a variety of industries such as electronic transformers and polymer production. 

Improving thermophysical parameters of a HTF is an important part of making an industrial process more efficient. With a wide range of available fluids specific to various applications, reliable and accurate thermal conductivity characterization is critical.

Case Highlight

Measuring the Thermal Conductivity of Heat Transfer Fluids via the Modified Transient Plane Source

Oil offers advantages over water-based fluids in transformers via its large temperature range and electrical insulating properties. Appropriate thermal conductivity of the transformer oil is necessary to prevent failures during instantaneous overload.

Water, ethylene glycol, and mineral oil are popular heat transfer materials in engines, nuclear systems, energy production and supply, as well as many other fields. For this reason the three heat transfer fluids used in this study include distilled water, ethylene glycol from Evans Cooling Systems and Luminol TR-1 transformer oil from Petro-Canada.

The TCi’s small volume test kit (left) was utilized to test the liquid samples. Convection effects are minimized with a required sample volume of 1.25 ml per test. Test results over a temperature range of -25°C to 100°C are displayed below.  Experimental data was found to compare within 1.85% accuracy of the comparable calculated book values.


Source:Harris, A., Kazachenko, S., Bateman, R., Nickerson, J., & Emanuel, M. (2013). Measuring the thermal conductivity of heat transfer fluids via the modified transient plane source (MTPS). Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry, 116.