Thermal Conductivity Kit

Thermal Conductivity on a Budget

C-THERM Thermal Conductivity Kit

An economical “do-it-yourself” solution, the TCkit is targeted primarily towards academic researchers. Employing the Transient Plane Source (TPS) method, the TCkit includes the tools & software needed to build and customize a thermal conductivity analyzer at a fraction of the price. 

Paired with a standard Source Measure Unit (sold separately), the TCkit is a great way to start testing thermal conductivity, now!

For further information, contact us today.


What's Included in the Kit?

FLEX Transient Plane Source (TPS) Thermal Conductivity Sensor with 4-Prong SMU Connector

A flexible double-sided sensor allows for a high amount of control over experimental parameters. Conforms to ISO 22007-2, and GB/T 32064.

Stainless Steel 304 Reference Samples

A Stainless Steel reference sample with a known thermal conductivity value to quickly verify calibration before use.

TECAS™ Control Software on USB Key

An intuitive analysis software to visualize and analyze the data collection. 

Step-by-Step User Guide

Out of the box functionality means you can get started measuring thermal conductivity right away.

  • Ryerson University

    The TCkit is easy to operate. A new user would not face difficulty in using it. The kit can also provide test results within minutes. As a whole, the TCkit is a useful device to investigate the thermal behaviour of solid material. The equipment is a great addition to our research lab and will allow us to open a new area of research.

    Dr. Khandaker M. Anwar Hossain,

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  • Santa Clara University

    C-Therm has been a pleasure to work with! The TCkit is a great tool in illustrating the fundamentals of heat transfer to my undergraduate students. I am very happy with this kit and would recommend it for others teaching the principles of thermal conductivity.

    Dr. Walter Yuen,

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  • University of Arizona, Tucson

    The TCkit from C-Therm is simple to use, yet sophisticated enough in thermal analysis to measure a wide variety of materials. This instrument is beautifully constructed. It caters from enthusiastic students learning the thermo-physical measurement of materials in the laboratory, to mature scientists wishing to characterize their novel materials. Overall, great experience. Thank you C-Therm!

    Pratish R. Rao,
    Graduate Student, Materials Science and Geological

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  • University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

    The TCkit offered us an affordable solution for learning more about the thermal conductivity of our sample materials. We were impressed with the service and support provided by C-Therm.

    Junho Oh

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Principles of Operation

Transient Plane Source (TPS) Technique

The C-Therm TCkit, configured with the Transient Plane Source (TPS) technique, enables the characterization of thermal conductivity and diffusivity of materials. It employs a two-sided sensor, and the user iteratively develops the timing and power parameters. Intended for rough and heterogeneous materials that are not well-suited to a single-sided test method, this configuration allows researchers the maximum versatility in test parameters and experimental design. Variations of this technique, with a bridge circuit, are offered in accordance to ISO 22007-2.

How It Works

(1) Power is applied to the sensor’s spiral heating element, providing a small amount of heat. This results in a rise in temperature at the interface between the sensor and the sample, which induces a voltage change across the sensor element.

(2) The results from the initial scouting run are used to estimate test time, power level, and ideal sensor size. The experiment is run with the new parameters. This may need to be repeated until the correct parameters are identified. Guidance is provided in the ISO 22007-2.2.

(3) The test result is a plot of temperature vs time.

(4) The results are analyzed with an iterative solving procedure to generate thermal property data such as thermal diffusivity and thermal conductivity.

Sensor Specifications

With the Transient Plane Source sensor included in the TCkit the thermal conductivity of solids can be characterized from 0.03 to 60 W/mK. Temperature stability from 10 to 80 °C means you can test under a variety of environments.

Versatile Thermal Conductivity Testing

TPS Sensor in Optional Compression Clamp

FLEX Sensor Testing Pyrex

Simple sample testing with the optional compression clamp for improving contact and avoided contact resistance.

Measured vs. Known Thermal Conductivity

Repeatable & Accurate

With demonstrated accuracy better than 5% and repeatability better than 2% in the range of 0.03 to 80 W/mK, the TCkit allows the characterization of a wide range of solid samples.

Thermal Conductivity Kit Software Interface

Proprietary Software

C-Therm’s proprietary measurement and analysis software TECAS™ enables users to intuitively setup analysis, with post-processing of data via an easy and visual platform. Running on Windows 10, direct export to CSV file allows for simple indexing of results. 

Thermal Conductivity Kit with Keithley 2401

Ultimate Experimental Control

With complete control over power and timing parameters, extensive experimental control is at your fingertips.


Case Highlights

TCkit™ Thermal Conductivity Application Highlight: Testing concrete with Flex TPS

The following Application Note addresses the testing of concrete using the C-Therm TCkit.  The document highlights the use of bulk thermal conductivity testing on porous samples with the TPS method 

Researchers, engineers, and students in the field of concretes, cement, geopolymers, and similar materials need to tune their products’ thermal properties to the application in question, to optimize energy efficiency and control thermal strain. Too low thermal conductivity can result in a large temperature gradient between opposite ends of the material in the application, resulting in thermal strain and cracking. On the other hand, very high thermal conductivity can make it difficult to control the internal temperature.  

To maximize efficiency in construction, a variety of lightweight concretes have been developed to decrease the weight of walls and foundations without losing much strength. However, these lightweight concretes often are more porous than their standard analogs, resulting in changes to the effective thermal conductivity. To counteract these changes and ensure the new lightweight formulations will still pass heat-transfer requirements, additives are often added to tune the thermal properties.   

This document highlights the TCkit’s performance capabilities in testing concrete samples.   



Thermal Conductivity testing of concrete

Figure 1. TCkit testing of concrete.

In testing the thermal conductivity of concrete, two similar pieces should be obtained and the TCkit’s TPS Flex sensor is sandwiched between the two pieces, as shown above. Note that the effect of contact resistance is addressed within the method and procedure outlined in the ISO standard for TPS testing.  The TCkit does not, however, have the Wheatstone bridge circuitry specified in the ISO standard as it relies on a standard Keithley Source Measure Unit for its data acquisition.  Should researchers wish to achieve the higher sensitivity outlined in the ISO standard, they would be advised to consider C-Therm Trident thermal conductivity instrument. .[1]

thermal conductivity of concrete

Figure 2. Ten measurements on concrete in different locations with the C-Therm TCkit.

Between each test, there is a waiting period of approximately 5-10 minutes in allowing the sample and sensor to return to equilibrium.

As concrete is typically heterogeneous, it is recommended to test the sample in multiple locations establishing a composite average thermal conductivity as illustrated in the Figure above.    The results match well with the expected value for concrete and demonstrate the effectiveness of applying the TCkit in testing concretes, cement, asphalt and other similar materials. 

Buy a TCkit now at www.thermalconductivitykit.com 



[1] International Standards Organization (ISO). 2015. ISO 22007-2: Plastics — Determination of thermal

conductivity and thermal diffusivity — Part 2: Transient plane heat source (hot disc) method.

TCkit™ Thermal Conductivity Application Highlight: Testing Ice with Flex TPS

The following Application Note addresses the testing of samples at sub-ambient conditions using the C-Therm TCkit™.   
Many groups want to test their materials at sub-ambient conditions to get a better idea of the thermal behavior of the material under the conditions of application – for example, material for an Arctic installation might be tested at -30°C to ensure it will withstand the harsh conditions without losing thermal performance. The TCkit™ can be used to test materials in sub-ambient conditions, using an optional thermal chamber and test clamp assembly.  

ICE Thermal Conductivity

Figure 1 – Ice has a thermal conductivity over 3X higher than water

Sample preparation was straightforward for the testing of ice: The sensor was submerged in degassed deionized water in a paper cup and then frozen overnight. As the ice cracked on freezing, cracks were filled with more deionized water and then the sample was refrozen to ensure good thermal contact. The wooden sticks were used as a placement aid to ensure the sensor alignment remained good during sample preparation and testing.  

Following crack-filling and re-freezing in a thermal chamber, the paper cup used to prepare the sample was removed, yielding the sensor embedded in a block of ice as shown below.  

thermal conductivity testing of ice

Figure 2 – C-Therm Flex TPS Thermal Conductivity Sensor Embed in Ice

Thermal conductivity test data generated with the C-Therm TCkit is presented in Figure 3.

thermal conductivity data of ice

Figure 3 – Thermal Conductivity of Ice

In this case, the reference data set is an aggregate of 4 literature data sets on the thermal conductivity of ice.[1] The average of the four is reported here. Error bars represent the relative standard deviation of the experimental and reference data set. At all four temperature points, the agreement between experimental and literature data is better than the aggregate precision of the data sets, indicating very good agreement between the experimental data and the test data.

This application highlight demonstrates the effectiveness of applying TCkit in characterizing the thermal conductivity of samples at sub-ambient temperature conditions.

Buy a TCkit now at www.thermalconductivitykit.com 




[1] Ratcliffe, E.H. The Thermal Conductivity of Ice New Data on the Temperature Coefficient. Philosophical Magazine 1962, 7, 1197–1203.;
Alexiades, V.; Solomon, A.D. Mathematical Modeling of Melting and Freezing Processes; Hemisphere Publishing: Washington, 1993.;
Lunardini, V.J. Heat Transfer in Cold Climates; Van Nostrand Reinhold: New York, 1981.; Waite, W.F.; Gilbert, L.Y.; Winters, W.J.; Mason, D.H. Estimating Thermal Diffusivity and Specific Heat from Needle Probe Thermal Conductivity Data. Review of Scientific Instruments 2006, 77, 044904.


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