RESEARCH PAPERS: Properties and Property Measurements

Effective Thermal Conductivity of a Thin, Randomly Oriented Composite Material

[+] Author and Article Information
P. E. Phelan

Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona 85287-6106

R. C. Niemann

Argonne National Laboratory, Energy Technology Division, 9700 South Cass Avenue, ET/335, Argonne, IL 60439-4818

J. Heat Transfer 120(4), 971-976 (Nov 01, 1998) (6 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2825917 History: Received January 30, 1997; Revised July 13, 1998; Online December 05, 2007


The thermal conductivity of a randomly oriented composite material is modeled using a probabilistic approach in order to determine if a size effect exists for the thermal conductivity at small composite thicknesses. The numerical scheme employs a random number generator to position the filler elements, which have a relatively high thermal conductivity, within a matrix having a relatively low thermal conductivity. The results indicate that, below some threshold thickness, the composite thermal conductivity increases with decreasing thickness, while above the threshold the thermal conductivity is independent of thickness. The threshold thickness increases for increasing filler fraction and increasing kf /km , the ratio between the filler and matrix thermal conductivities.

Copyright © 1998 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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