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Fast, easy, and highly accurate. A single-sided, “plug & play” sensor suitable for testing solids, liquids, powders and pastes. Offers maximum sample versatility. Conforms to ASTM D7984.

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TLS Needle

Sheathed in stainless steel, the TLS Needle sensor offers maximum robustness in thermal conductivity testing. Conforms to ASTM D5334, and D5930.

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Flex TPS

A flexible double-sided sensor available in different sizes. Greater control over experimental parameters makes TPS ideal for more advanced users. Conforms to ISO 22007-2, and GB/T 32064.

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Hot Wire THW

Offering fast tests of liquids and powders, the THW probe is ideal for measuring the thermal conductivity of coolants. Conforms to ASTM D7896-19.

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  • C-Therm’s Trident system allows us to not only test a relatively broader range of materials with various sensor techniques, but with the Slab utility we are able to easily test the thermal conductivity of our thin aluminum alloys – which have high value in today’s electronic and computing hardware

    Hardeep Singh, Sr. Thermal Engineer
    Intel Corporation

  • C-Therm’s MTPS sensor is a fast and accurate instrument which has been an invaluable addition to our lab. The MTPS sensor allows us to quickly understand the thermal properties of our non-woven textile materials, diapers, and wipes. The thermal properties of these materials were previously unknown. Patrick and his colleagues at C-Therm are quick to answer our questions and provide helpful resources. I would definitely recommend C-Therm thermal conductivity instruments to those looking to know the thermal properties for their materials.

    Fang Wang, Lead Material Scientist
    Kimberly Clark

  • Our lab is frequently asked to identify the best practical methods for characterising fundamental physical properties of soft materials, for a myriad of industries including pharma, food, cosmetics, specialty chemicals, and electronics. The MTPS method available on C-Therm’s Trident System is a perfect fit for us, providing a simple, highly accurate, practical, and versatile route for measuring thermal conductivity of semi-solids, powders, and fluids. The MTPS is a welcome addition to our capabilities, helping to complete our service offering, and has been a boon to the growth of our business.

    Neil Cunningham, founder & CEO
    Centre for Industrial Rheology

  • We purchased the C-Therm TCi Thermal Conductivity Analyzer after seeing a demonstration of how fast and easy it is to operate. The instrument provides unequivocal results and provides the flexibility to test powders and liquids. In terms of our satisfaction with the purchase, I’d give it a 10 out of 10 – extremely satisfied.

    Dr. Enrique Jackson (Sector: Aerospace)

  • The C-Therm TCi Thermal Conductivity Analyzer has provided our group a fast, accurate capability to test the thermal conductivity of our polymers with C-Therm’s patented high-precision MTPS sensor. The instrument has become very popular within our group for its quick easy reliable measurement and the support from C-Therm has exceeded our expectations. We recently upgraded the unit with the new robust TLS module for work on polymer melts.

    Jose Fonseca, Expert Thermodynamics (Sector: Polymers)

  • Seaforth Geosurveys turned to the C-Therm TCi for effective thermal conductivity characterization in our exploration vessel’s on-board lab. The portability and ease of use of the instrument allowed our technicians to rapidly measure thermal conductivity of our geological core samples accurately and consistently in a 24-7 operation. As a Nova Scotia based company working worldwide, we were pleased to have a local, made in Atlantic Canada solution for our project requirements. We would recommend the Trident for any research or screening with a focus on geological and/or in-situ applications, and we will continue to utilize it on new exploration missions.

    David Lombardi, President (Sector: Geology / Oil & Gas)
    Seaforth Geosurveys Inc.

  • The C-Therm TCi has been a key piece of testing equipment at Haydale, providing fast and accurate thermal conductivity measurements for our product development of nanocomposites. Having this capability has allowed a better understanding of the dispersion of nanomaterials in polymer matrices through thermal mapping sample surfaces. The support and customer service from C-Therm has been excellent over the years, we look forward to dealing with them again in the near future.

    Stuart Sykes (Sector: Nanocomposites)
    Haydale Composites Solutions Ltd.

  • 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.

    Delphine Berset, Process Safety

How it Works

C-Therm's Trident system offers three different modes of operation in measuring the thermal conductivity of materials. The MTPS high precision method is the simplest and most versatile. The TLS Needle method provides maximum robustness for those sticky situations. The Flex TPS method provides the greatest flexibility over experimental parameters with C-Therm's flex sensors. Learn more about how each method works below.

  • MTPS
  • TLS Needle
  • Flex TPS
  • Hot Wire THW
  • Modified Transient Plane Source (MTPS)

    Modified Transient Plane Source (MTPS)

    Simple and Precise. The MTPS method employs a single-sided sensor to directly measure thermal conductivity and effusivity of materials. The MTPS method has the highest precision, highest sensitivity, shortest test time, and is the easiest to use among all three techniques.

    Principles of Operation

    Principles of Operation

    Trident’s primary sensor employs the Modified Transient Plane Source (MTPS) technique in characterizing the thermal conductivity and effusivity of materials. It employs a single-sided, interfacial heat reflectance sensor that applies a momentary constant heat source to the sample. Typically, the measurement pulse is between 1 to 3 seconds. Thermal conductivity and effusivity are measured directly, providing a detailed overview of the heat transfer properties of the sample material.

    How It Works

    1. A known current is applied to the sensor's spiral heating element, providing a small amount of heat.
    2. A guard ring surrounds the sensor coil to support a one-dimensional heat transfer into the sample. The applied current results in a rise in temperature at the interface between the sensor and the sample, which induces a change in the voltage drop of the sensor element.
    3. The rate of increase in the sensor voltage is used to determine the thermal properties of the sample. The voltage is factory-calibrated to temperature. The thermal conductivity is inversely proportional to the rate of increase in the temperature at the point of contact between the sensor and the sample. The voltage is used as a proxy for temperature and will rise more steeply when lower thermal conductivity materials (e.g. foam) are tested. Conversely, the voltage slope will be flatter for higher thermal conductivity materials (e.g. metal). With the C-Therm Trident, tabular thermal conductivity results are reported in real-time making thermal conductivity measurement fast and easy. No regression analysis is required.
  • Transient Line Source (TLS) Needle

    Transient Line Source (TLS) Needle

    The TLS method employs a needle probe to characterize the thermal conductivity of viscous and granular materials. It is the most robust sensor for thermal conductivity testing.

    Principles of Operation

    Principles of Operation

    The Transient Line Source (TLS) technique operates in accordance with ASTM D5334, D5930 and IEEE Std 442-1981. Commonly referred to as needle probes, The TLS sensors provide a robust and efficient solution for measuring the thermal conductivity of granular materials, powders, polymer melts, soils, slurries, gels, and pastes.

    This technique involves placing an electrically heated needle into a material. The heat flows out radially from the needle into the sample. During heating, the temperature difference between a thermocouple (T1) positioned in the middle of the heating wire, and a second thermocouple (T2) located at the tip of the needle is measured. By plotting this temperature difference versus the logarithm of time, thermal conductivity can be calculated. Typically, the measurement is on the order of 2-10 minutes.

    How It Works

    1. An internal platinum wire is heated electrically - providing a known amount of heat per unit length.
    2. The temperatures are measured at locations T1 (located in the middle of heating wire) and T2 (located at the tip of the needle).
    3. The rate of increase in temperature as a function of logarithmic time is then used to calculate the thermal conductivity of the sample. The slope of the line is inversely proportional to the thermal conductivity of the sample. The temperature will rise more steeply when lower thermal conductivity materials (e.g. powders) are tested.
  • Transient Plane Source (TPS) Flex

    Transient Plane Source (TPS) Flex

    The TPS method employs a double-sided hot disc sensor to simultaneously determine thermal conductivity, thermal diffusivity and specific heat capacity of materials from a single measurement. TPS provides the user the greatest flexibility and control over experimental parameters and avoids the use of any contact agents. Recommended for more experienced users.

    Principles of Operation

    Principles of Operation

    The C-Therm Trident Thermal Conductivity Analyzer Flex configuration employs the Transient Plane Source (TPS) technique in characterizing the thermal conductivity, thermal diffusivity and specific heat capacity of materials, conforming to ISO standard 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.
  • Transient Hot Wire (THW)

    Transient Hot Wire (THW)

    The THW method employs a thin platinum wire to measure the thermal conductivity of liquids, gels, and powders. Commonly used in the automotive industry, the THW can produce accurate results due to it's fast test times limiting the effects of convection.

    Principles of Operation

    Principles of Operation

    The Transient Hot Wire (THW) technique operates in accordance with ASTM D7896-19. Commonly used in the automotive industry for coolants and other fluids, the THW method involves passing a current through the thin platinum wire, causing an increase in temperature. This temperature change is calibrated to the voltage and measured by the thermocouples on the sensor. The thermal conductivity is measured as it is inversely proportional to the increase in temperature, with respect to logarithmic time.  

    How It Works

    1. A known current is applied to the platinum wire, causing an increase in temperature.
    2. Voltage across the wire is calibrated to the temperature and is measured continuously throughout the test duration.
    3. The sample's thermal conductivity is inversely proportional to the rate of increase in the temperature with respect to logarithmic time.


Test Methods MTPS TLS Needle Flex TPS Hot Wire THW
Recommended applications Aerogels, Automotive, Batteries, Composites, Insulation, Explosives, Geological, Liquids, Metals, Nanomaterials, Metal Hydrides, Nuclear, Phase Change Materials (PCMs), Polymers, Rubber, Thermal Interface Materials (TIMs), Thermoelectric Polymer Melts, Semi-Solids, & Soil.

(Not suitable for lower viscosity fluids due to convection.)
Cement/Concrete, Metal Sheets, Polymers, Porous Ceramics, & Thin Films Automotive fluids, non-conductive liquids, gels, and powders
Thermal Conductivity Range 0.01 to 500 W/mK 0.1 to 6 W/mK 0.005 to 2000 W/mK 0.01 – 2 W/mK
Thermal Diffusivity Range 0.01 to 300 mm²/s* Not applicable up to 1200 mm²/s Better than 10%
Heat Capacity Range Up to 5 MJ/m³K* Not applicable Up to 5 MJ/m³K Better than 10%
Thermal Effusivity Range 5 to 40,000 Ws½/m²K Not applicable Not applicable Not applicable
Temperature Range -50º to 200ºC

-With option to extend to 500ºC
-55º to 180ºC

-With option to extend to 300ºC
-50º to 300ºC -40 – 200 °C
Precision Better than 1% Better than 3% Better than 2% Better than 1%
Accuracy Better than 5% Stated for °20C
± (3% + 0.02) W/mK
Better than 5% Better than 5%
Test Time 0.8 to 3 seconds 1 to 4 minutes 10 to 180 seconds <1 second
Sensor Size 18 mm diameter 150 mm length 6 mm, 13 mm and 30 mm diameter sensors available 45 mm length
Minimum Sample Size Solids:
Min. diameter of 18 mm Min. thickness is dependent on the thermal conductivity. For materials under 1 W/mK a min. thickness of 1 mm is suggested.

Liquids & Powders:
1.25 mL
80 mL Requires two identical samples.

The diameter of the samples should be 2.5X sensor diameter (e.g. 6 mm sensor requires sample diameter of 15 mm)

Thickness should be at minimum the same diameter as the sensor (e.g. 6 mm sensor requires 6 mm thick samples.
40 mL
Maximum Sample Size Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
International Standards ASTM D7984 IEEE 442-2017, ASTM D5930-17, ASTM D5334-22 ISO 22007-2, GB/T 32064 ASTM D7896-19


The C-Therm software is developed for the Trident system to control all 3 sensor types. The software is highly user-friendly and easy to navigate. It provides full data acquisition and analysis in one software.



Controlling environmental factors during testing is critical to gaining meaningful, repeatable and comparable thermal conductivity results. With C-Therm’s line of accessories, precise control of temperature, compression, pressure and humidity is possible – with a wide range of accessories available.

  • TRIDENT - Multiple methods for thermal conductivity testing.

  • Hot Wire THW in a sample cell provided sample cell for convent measurement.

  • FLEX Transient Plane Source Sensor testing thermal conductivity of polymer composite.

  • Transient Line Source Needle Probe testing thermal conductivity of viscous engine coolant.

  • Modified Transient Plane Source Sensor testing thermal conductivity of reference ceramic.

  • TRIDENT Configured with the MTPS, TPS, and THW sensors.

  • Modified Transient Plane Source Sensor with compression test accessory for controlling compaction during thermal conductivity testing of materials.

  • High pressure cell with MTPS for thermal conductivity testing of solids.

  • High pressure cell for testing thermal conductivity of materials under controlled pressure.

  • FLEX Transient Plane Source Sensor sizes - 6mm, 13mm and 30mm diameter.

Replacement Sensors

Suitable for testing solids, liquids, powders, and pastes. The MTPS sensor offers “Plug & Play” thermal conductivity characterization.

• Sealed against dust and liquids by a RTV silicone sealant between housing and sensor chip
• Housing is made of stainless steel
• Chip surface is made of alumina (96% aluminum oxide) with a thin sealing glass layer

Environmental – Operating
Operating temperature range for sensor head: -50°C to +200°C (with option to extend to 500°C)

Note:  Sensor does NOT heat sample beyond a couple of degrees.
Relative humidity: up to 95% non-condensing
External: vacuum to 6 Atm (90 PSIG)

• Sensor is factory calibrated and provided in “Plug & Play” format.
• Calibration data is stored on sensor’s ID chip in sensor connector.
• Calibration data is verified prior to sensor operation with standard reference materials.
• Sensors are interchangeable and field replaceable.

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Thermal Chamber

Trident offers users the flexibility to operate the sensor in various environmental enclosures (including thermal chambers and glove boxes). C-Therm recommends the Tenney Jr. Thermal Chamber and offers the product as an available accessory with the Trident Thermal Conductivity Analyzer. 

Temperature Range: -73°C to 200°C
Interior Dimensions W x D x H (inches): 16 x 11 x 12
Exterior Dimensions W x D x H (inches): 37 x 22.5 x 30.7
Crating Dimensions W x D x H (inches): 47 x 33 x 41
Cabinet Type: Standard Door
Electrical Power: 115V-120V 1 Phase 60 Hz
Amp Draw: 16
KW: 0.5 kW

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MTPS Liquids & Powders Cell

Your perfect accessory for testing liquids.  The Small-Volume Liquids Test Cell was originally developed with the US Navy Surface Warfare Division specifically for testing energetic emulsions and powders. The effectiveness of the accessory in reducing convection effect on testing samples make it ideal for characterizing the thermal conductivity of liquid samples regardless of the viscosity. The Liquids Test Cell is commonly applied in testing nano and heat transfer fluids, as well as emulsions. (Note:  does not include sensor or sensor base – sold separately.)


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Compression Test Accessory

The Compression Test Accessory (CTA) is engineered and designed to enable users to precisely control the level of compression or compaction of a sample in characterizing the material’s thermal conductivity. The CTA is ideal for applications in the fields of advanced textiles, fabrics and thermal interface materials (TIMs) where representative thermal conductivity data requires precise control over the sample’s compaction. The CTA is compatible with solids, pastes, greases and powder sample formats.

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High Pressure Cell

C-Therm offers a range of high pressure cells to safely characterize the thermal conductivity of samples under elevated pressure environments up to 2000 PSI (~138bar). C-Therm’s HPCs are popular with researchers in the Oil & Gas, Nuclear and Fuel Cell industries.

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Reference Materials

As an option, C-Therm can provide a NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) Standard Reference Material for verifying the accuracy of the system.

SRM 1453, Expanded Polystyrene Board.

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