Characterization of the temperature oscillation technique to measure the thermal conductivity of fluids

P. Bhattacharya, S. Nara, P. Vijayan, T. Tang, W. Lai, Patrick Phelan, R. S. Prasher, D. W. Song, J. Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The temperature oscillation technique to measure the thermal diffusivity of a fluid consists of filling a cylindrical volume with the fluid, applying an oscillating temperature boundary condition at the two ends of the cylinder, measuring the amplitude and phase of the temperature oscillation at any point inside the cylinder, and finally calculating the fluid thermal diffusivity from the amplitude and phase values of the temperature oscillations at the ends and at the point inside the cylinder. Although this experimental technique was introduced by Santucci and co-workers nearly two decades ago, its application is still limited, perhaps because of the perceived difficulties in obtaining accurate results. Here, we attempt to clarify this approach by first estimating the maximum size of the liquid's cylindrical volume, performing a systematic series of experiments to find the allowable amplitude and frequency of the imposed temperature oscillations, and then validating our experimental setup and the characterization method by measuring the thermal conductivity of pure water at different temperatures and comparing our results with previously published work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2950-2956
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer
Issue number17-18
StatePublished - Aug 2006


  • Temperature oscillation technique
  • Thermal conductivity
  • Thermal diffusivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


Dive into the research topics of 'Characterization of the temperature oscillation technique to measure the thermal conductivity of fluids'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this