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TPS Sensor KitExplore
ISO 22007-2, ASTM D7984, D5334, D5930Explore
Thermal conductivity quantifies the rate at which heat transfers through a given material. While the thermal conductivity of pure materials is mostly known, composite materials or materials in different physical states are often not well-characterized, and these materials tend to be most valuable for technological purposes (e.g. polymer composites, metal alloys, potting compounds, nanomaterials.)
No single thermal conductivity instrument or method is appropriate for all samples and applications and choosing the incorrect test method or conditions often results in errors. Some measurement techniques require large sample sizes and long test times, which may not be efficient for researchers working with small sample volumes, such as nanofluids or explosives.
C-Therm is a pioneer in developing thermal conductivity instruments that deliver the shortest test times and highest precision across a broad range of applications. Our patented Modified Transient Plane Source (MTPS) technology conforms to ASTM D7984 and is used around the globe for R&D, quality control, and on-line production monitoring in a wide range of industries.
The Trident Thermal Conductivity Instrument is the most versatile testing platform, with multiple configurations for measuring solids, liquids, powders, or pastes. Choose from easy plug-and-play operation with the MTPS sensor, to more advanced options for complex testing and greater control with TPS testing.
Trident offers three different options for measuring thermal conductivity:
Trident is part of C-Therm’s Academic Support Program. Check all the benefits and eligibility criteria here.
Using the Trident system for thermal conductivity testing of our process safety studies and related contract testing has provided our lab with invaluable new capabilities, with great support from the team at C-Therm.
This comprehensive brochure outlines how the Trident Thermal Conductivity Instrument enables researchers and quality control specialists to simplify sample measurement across a range of materials using the Trident’s versatile sensor options and easy plug-and-play testing.
Get DIY thermal conductivity measurement with the TCkit, a customizable thermal conductivity analyzer employing the Transient Plane Source (TPS) method. Primarily geared towards academic researchers who want to test samples in a classroom setting or expand their research, the TCkit includes tools and software for measuring thermal conductivity at an affordable price, right out of the box. Pair the C-Therm TCkit with a Keithley source measurement unit and test polymers, ceramics, and various other materials.
Stuck at home? The TCkit can get you thermal conductivity anywhere – even your kitchen table.
Watch the webinar to learn how to use C-Therm’s TCkit to measure thermal conductivity at a fraction of the price. This webinar will teach you how to assemble your own thermal conductivity analyzer suitable for teaching students and characterize solid materials.
From activewear to personal protective clothing and upholstery, the Tx Touch Tester allows researchers to quantify a textile’s warm feel or cool touch property. This is helpful in material selection, claims validation, quality control, and marketing of performance textiles. Using the MTPS method (ASTM D7984: Standard Test Method for Measurement of Thermal Effusivity of Fabrics Using a Modified Transient Plane Source (MTPS) Instrument), C-Therm’s Tx Touch Tester accurately measures the touch property quantifying warm-feel / cool-touch and can operate under a variety of conditions, including high levels of humidity and the impact of compression force in real-world scenarios.
Warm-Feel / Cool-Touch Index
The Tx Touch Tester is part of C-Therm’s Academic Support Program. Check all the benefits and eligibility criteria here.
For any group interested in measuring the thermal effusivity of materials, I would absolutely recommend C-Therm to them. The machine can be set up to analyze many different types of materials, which makes it a very versatile tool.
GIT Prototype & Technology Manager
C-Therm offers replacement sensors for Trident and 3rd Generation thermal conductivity instruments. Whether you are testing solids, liquids, powders, or pastes, you will find specifications and pricing suited to your needs.
C-Therm replacement sensors support the following test methods:
Modified Transient Plane Source (MTPS) Sensor
Flex Transient Plane Source (TPS) Sensor
Transient Line Source (TLS) Needle Probe Sensor
Scientists and researchers seeking thermal conductivity instruments need to find the right tool to measure materials in different physical states that are often difficult to characterize. When you request pricing from C-Therm, we will provide recommendations for thermal conductivity instruments configured specifically for your application and industry.
Steady-state methods apply a heat source continually to sample material. They are considered the traditional standard in some applications, such as the Guarded Hot Plate method for building materials. Measurement accuracy often requires large samples, exacting sample preparation to conform to ISO standards, and long test times. This destructive method does not work for liquids or high thermal conductivity materials and required specially machined sample slabs.
Steady-state methods for measuring thermal conductivity include:
Transient methods apply the heat source periodically or in a pulse, which dramatically reduces test times (minutes versus hours). Transient methods have surpassed steady-state methods over the past three decades due to their flexibility in terms of short test times, accuracy, and smaller sample size.
There are four common transient methods for measuring thermal conductivity:
Steady-state methods for measuring thermal conductivity, including the heat flow meter (HFM) method, are the oldest measurement methods and are considered the traditional standard across some industries. While accurate, they are limited in material application, thermal conductivity range, and test times.
Transient test methods have outpaced steady-state methods on a number of fronts:
|Steady-State Methods||Transient Methods|
|Guarded Hot Plate||Laser Flash Diffusivity|
|Heat Flow Meter||Transient Plane Source|
|Guarded-Comparative-Longitudinal Heat Flow Meter||Modified Transient Plane Source|
|Cut Bar Method||Transient Line Source|
Selected steady-state and transient methods for the determination of thermal properties
The Modified Transient Plane Source (MTPS) sensor, patented by C-Therm and developed in collaboration with industry leaders including Kodak and the US Navy, enables users to rapidly test a broad range of samples without damaging them.
The MTPS method employs a single-sided sensor to measure the thermal conductivity of solids, liquids, powders, and pastes. The 18-millimeter diameter sensor is ideal for small sample sizes and can provide results in 1 to 3 seconds (fastest of any other transient solutions).
Where the MTPS method offers easy plug-and-play capabilities, the Transient Plane Source (TPS) method is recommended for experienced researchers seeking more control over experimental parameters. The TPS method uses a double-sided hot disc sensor that is used for measuring the thermal conductivity of polymers, compacted geological samples, metals, concrete, and asphalt. TPS sensor can measure materials up to 500ºC.
The Transient Line Source (TLS) method uses an electrically-heated needle to measure the thermal conductivity of granular materials, polymer melts, soils, slurries, and gels. The heat from the needle flows out into the sample, and users plot temperature differences at two different points: the tip of the wire and the middle of the needle. Thermal conductivity is calculated through the temperature difference at these two points and the logarithm of time. This measurement takes approximately two to ten minutes.
Many different industries need thermal conductivity data on the materials they are working with. Knowing what instruments and techniques to use is essential to measuring materials quickly and accurately. This guide provides a primer on thermal conductivity instruments, including:
While the thermal conductivity of materials can vary widely depending on factors such as density, crystallinity, morphology and saturation, getting reliable thermal conductivity data is dependent on two major factors:
Below is a summary of how environmental effects impact thermal conductivity measurement and how to choose the most suitable instrument to avoid errors.
High-temperature thermal conductivity measurements have proved challenging for instrumentation: traditional transient method sensors would become soft at high temperatures or limited to a single use. The Trident Thermal Conductivity Instrument can test samples in environments up to 500°C, with specialty MTPS sensor chips and high-temperature mica Flex TPS sensors.
Phase change (e.g. from liquid to solid or vice versa) can affect the thermal conductivity measurement of a material. C-Therm’s Trident Thermal Conductivity Instrument can test both liquids and solids, ideal for characterizing thermoplastic composites. Additionally, the Modified Transient Plane Source (MTPS) sensor applies a quick pulse (0.08 seconds) to avoid convection errors during measurement.
Thermal conductivity may vary on a single material sample due to its structure. For example, the effective in-plane vs. through-plane (radial vs. axial) following the direction of graphene additives in composite polymers. C-Therm’s MTPS one-sided sensor provides greater control over measurement: instead of mocking up a sample for testing, users only need to apply the sensor to the surface area they want to measure. As a result, the Modified Transient Plane Source (MTPS) method has become a popular choice for measuring the thermal conductivity of anisotropic samples, specifically for manufacturing conductive polymers with oriented fillers.
The double-sided flex Transient Plane Source sensor can also test the axial and radial thermal conductivity of materials (two samples required for measurement) via the specialty anisotropy utility.
How granular materials are packed or loaded onto a testing instrument can impact thermal conductivity measurements. There are a number of factors that can improve measurement efficiency and consistency, including smaller sample sizes and maintaining uniform contact with the probe or sensor. C-Therm’s Modified Transient Plane Source (MTPS) method solves many issues around measuring the thermal conductivity of powders.
The classical definition of thermal conductivity would suggest it is truly only able to be measured in a solid, but in the majority of thermal conductivity testing, researchers and engineers are seeking to understand the effective thermal conductivity, which means under a density and environment that the material will be utilized. As density will ultimately affect thermal conductivity, the compression test accessory available for MTPS instruments is a great control device for testing under consistent load.
How do you calculate the rate at which heat penetrates through a given material? The units for measuring thermal conductivity are W/mK, or watts per meter-kelvin.
Materials with high thermal conductivity can conduct heat well; materials with low thermal conductivity are good insulators. The measurement of thermal conductivity (k) can determine thermal resistance (R) and thermal conductance (C).
To learn how to get thermal resistance and thermal conductance from thermal conductivity, visit C-Therm’s Thermal Resistance and Thermal Conductance page.
Thermal conductivity measurement has critical applications across a broad range of industries. For example, as the building materials industry seeks more efficient insulation products, and the explosives industry looks for safer ways to test samples, having a thermal conductivity instrument that offers quick and accurate testing has never been more important.
C-Therm has developed niche expertise across a number of industries—working with global leaders including 3M, NASA, and Under Armour—to pioneer the next generation of high-performance materials.
Researchers in the polymer sector seek materials for a broad range of applications, from insulative packaging materials to electronic systems. C-Therm’s Trident Thermal Conductivity Instrument is the only commercial tool measuring the thermal conductivity of polymers across solids, liquids, powders, pastes, and textiles.
[Webinar] Thermal Conductivity in Polymer Plastics, Epoxies and Adhesives Characterization: Method Selection and Application
[Blog] Using Thermal Conductivity in the Design of Thermoplastic Composites
In 2016, C-Therm collaborated with textile industry leaders in the formation of a new ASTM standard for measuring the thermal properties of textiles and fabrics. Industry-leading high-performance apparel brands and testing labs use C-Therm’s patented instrumentation in their R&D and quality control processes in order to optimize the characterization of warm-feel/cool-touch properties of textiles and fabrics. C-Therm’s Tx Touch Experience Effusivity Platform measures the thermal effusivity of materials, defined as the rate at which a material can absorb heat. Using this measurement device, users can quantify the “warm feel” and “cool touch” of fabrics and textiles.
[Webinar] Quantifying Thermal Performance of Textiles (Warm Feel / Cool Touch)
[Webinar] Quantifying Thermal Touch Performance – Thermal Effusivity Applied in Fabric Selection, Validation and Quality Control
[Paper] Standard Test Method for Measurement of Thermal Effusivity of Fabrics Using a Modified Transient Plane Source (MTPS) Instrument
As the battery and electronic industry seeks new ways to make smaller batteries and improve thermal management, rapid and easy characterization of battery thermal conductivity becomes integral to improving safety and performance for consumer and industrial applications.
The Modified Transient Plane Source (MTPS) and Transient Plane Source (TPS) testing methods available through C-Therm’s Trident Thermal Conductivity Instrument provide an all-in-one solution for easy testing of solid and liquid electrolyte solutions and salt bridge materials.
[Webinar] Characterizing Phase Change Materials for Improved Battery Thermal Management
[Paper] Electrochemical–Thermal Evaluation of an Integrated Thermal Management System for Lithium‐Ion Battery Modules
[Paper] A Comparative Study on Battery Thermal Management Using Phase Change Material (PCM)
A critical attribute of insulation materials is thermal conductivity: low thermal conductivity leads to high thermal resistance. The Modified Transient Plane Source (MTPS) method provides a fast and easy way to characterize the thermal conductivity of insulation materials without sample preparation or contact agents.
Measuring the thermal conductivity of phase change materials is difficult for traditional instruments, but it is increasingly important for energy-efficient initiatives. Measuring phase change materials can be accomplished with C-Therm’s Modified Transient Plane Source (MTPS) method because it can test solid and liquid states continuously.
Energy conservation and finding innovative and efficient insulation materials are key to measuring the thermal conductivity of building materials. C-Therm’s Modified Transient Plane Source (MTPS) sensor and (Transient Plane Source) TPS sensor in the Trident Thermal Conductivity Instrument can help the building materials industry measure the thermal conductivity of cement and concrete. New, bio-based composites are paving the way for an energy-efficient building future.
[Blog] Improving the Thermal Insulation of Bio-Based Materials with Pineapple Waste Aerogels
[Webinar] Thermal Conductivity Performance Characterization of Innovative Cement-based Construction Materials
Automotive, industrial, and aerospace industries measure the thermal conductivity of heat transfer fluids. Modified Transient Plane Source (MTPS) instruments provide fast and easy measurements for temperature management and heat transfer.
Measuring the thermal conductivity of thermal interface materials and dielectrics is essential for electronics that require new options for cooling and thermal dissipation. As electronics become smaller and more sophisticated, rapid thermal conductivity testing via C-Therm’s Trident Thermal Conductivity Instrument can help characterize the thermal resistance between layers of materials.
Measuring the thermal conductivity of nanomaterials has wide-ranging applications but nanomaterials are expensive to develop. Innovators working with composite polymers are often experimenting with fillers such as graphene, copper, and silver to increase thermal conductivity, and additives like boron nitrite to insulate electrically. With the Modified Transient Plane Source (MTPS) method’s 18-millimeter sensor, researchers do not have to provide the large sample size required by traditional measurement methods. Additionally, the single-sided sensor allows for a better understanding of the dispersion of nanomaterials in the polymer matrices.
Testing the thermal conductivity of explosives using steady-state methods poses risks due to the long test times and large sample sizes required. C-Therm’s Trident Thermal Conductivity Analyzer can help users avoid key issues such as applying thermal shock, excessive force, or excessive temperature to the sample with shorter test times and smaller sample sizes.
From energy to aerospace, thermally conductive metals are essential for their ability to dissipate heat. The Trident Thermal Conductivity Analyzer can measure highly conductive metals like copper, aluminum and brass, providing researchers with a fast and easy method to verify the performance of materials.
Measuring the thermal conductivity of geological materials requires testing a variety of samples at different temperatures and pressures. The Modified Transient Plane Source (MTPS) sensor allows for rapid testing of clays, sands, and non-hygroscopic rocks, while the Transient Line Source (TLS) probe can measure soil mixtures.
The flex Transient Plane Source method provides a solution for hygroscopic geological materials.
From brake pads to interior upholstery, measuring the thermal conductivity of automotive components is integral to safety and efficiency. Collecting fast and accurate data on heat transfer between components is important when so many electrical and mechanical components have to work in tandem.
Measuring the thermal conductivity of powders is essential for additive manufacturing and powder metallurgy applications. Powders are challenging to measure: a coarse material may clog during measurement; a fine material may cake. The Modified Transient Plane Source (MTPS) sensor only requires one point of contact, potentially reducing caking and clogging issues that can occur with other types of instrumentation.
[Webinar] Thermophysical Properties Analysis for Additive Manufacturing Powder Metallurgy Process Optimization
[Webinar] Heat-Transfer Properties of Powders
[Paper] Monitoring of Powder Homogeneity During Double-Cone Blending
Measuring thermal conductivity in the oil and gas industry is used for research, quality control, testing finished products, and evaluating supplier materials. Older testing methods required destroying the sample after testing. C-Therm’s TCi Thermal Conductivity Analyzer tests oils, greases, and waxes without sample destruction. High-pressure cells enable testing of thermal conductivity up to 137 bar (2000 PSI) under high temperature. This can assist in replicating the environment of oil & gas drilling operations to understand better how thermal conductivity changes, deep underground.
[Webinar] Addressing Convection in Measuring Thermal Conductivity of Liquids
[Webinar] Measuring Thermal Conductivity Under Pressure
[Paper] Avoid Convection Errors in Measuring the Thermal Conductivity of Liquids
Many researchers and materials scientists require thermal conductivity instruments for data collection. When you schedule a virtual demonstration with C-Therm, we will guide you through thermal conductivity equipment for your application and industry.
Organizations seeking thermal conductivity testing services need to determine the best-suited method for their samples. When you request a quote for thermal conductivity testing services, you’ll receive a recommendation based on sample type, size, and temperature range of interest.
Rigaku is a global leader in analytical and industrial instrumentation technology. Rigaku’s product line in thermal analysis dates back to the late 1950’s. Rigaku developed the world’s first thermogravimetry (TGA) system based on the differential thermobalance principle in 1981. The company hasn’t stopped innovating since – continuing to provide leadership and drive development in the field of thermal analysis with over 60 years of experience.
For researchers and industrial laboratories who need to characterize the viscoelastic and thermo-mechanical properties of materials, METRAVIB provides advanced instruments for Dynamic Mechanical Analysis (DMA) and fatigue testing. Choose from their unique range of instruments offering unmatched capabilities in structural analysis, vibration measurement technologies, and physics of materials.
For researchers and manufacturers conducting thermal analysis in a wide range of environments, SETARAM’s instrumentation operates at a wide range of temperatures and pressures and in oxidizing or reducing environments. Explore instruments for thermal analysis, calorimetry, and gas sorption. Learn more about reaction calorimetry, process safety, and controlled pressure capabilities.
Manufacturers need to ensure their blends are homogeneous. Learn how C-Therm’s effusivity sensors provide real-time evaluation of materials.
Organizations seeking thermal conductivity equipment for R&D, manufacturing, and innovation need to find the right tool to characterize materials that often aren’t well understood. When you request pricing from C-Therm, we will provide recommendations for thermal conductivity instruments and configurations tailored to your application and industry.