Trident™ Tx Application Highlight: Thermal Effusivity and Touch Perception

The following Application Highlight addresses the correlation of material thermal touch perception to thermal effusivity using the Modified Transient Plane Source (MTPS) and a human touch panel.

Product design more than ever must consider a variety of aspects to ensure consumer appeal. Cross functional teams often comprised of designers, marketers, etc. must work together with materials scientists to ensure alignment on desired functionality and properties related to the intended end use application. Of these properties, thermal sensation garners a large influence on perceived comfort and quality of products, especially for consumer goods and apparel. The “coldness” or “warmth” felt when in contact with a product thus has significant implications that need to be properly understood. Traditionally this was assessed using panels of people, who could subjectively verify whether one material felt cooler or warmer than another. However, such human touch testing is extremely subjective and open to bias. As a quantifiable metric, Thermal Effusivity is an intrinsic material property that has been shown to correlate to thermal touch perception applied in both academic and industrial settings.

Figure 1: Thermal touch perception correlation to thermal effusivity of materials.

As noted from the study performed by (S. Wilkes et. al), materials with a low thermal effusivity feel warmer and materials with a higher thermal effusivity feel cooler. To further demonstrate this, C-Therm performed a touch panel correlation study on two different sets of samples.

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