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Inverse Heat Conduction Errors From Temperature Bias in Thin Film Sensors: Effect of Contact Resistance

[+] Author Affiliations
Keith A. Woodbury

The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL

Jonathan W. Woolley

Nanogenesis, an AEgis Technologies Group, Huntsville, AL

Paper No. IMECE2011-65658, pp. 1035-1040; 6 pages
  • ASME 2011 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 4: Energy Systems Analysis, Thermodynamics and Sustainability; Combustion Science and Engineering; Nanoengineering for Energy, Parts A and B
  • Denver, Colorado, USA, November 11–17, 2011
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5490-7
  • Copyright © 2011 by ASME


Thin platinum resistance thermometers (herein called thin film sensors) are often used in applications where rapid measurements of surface temperature are required. These gages are typically vapor deposited onto a non-conducting substrate surface and electrically connected with small wires through access holes to the surface. The time response of the gage is measured in milliseconds and surface temperature data obtained with this gage is often combined with a pseudo-inverse heat conduction algorithm to provide information about the surface heat flux. However, the thermal mass of the connecting wires, though small in absolute terms, is large compared to that of the thin film, and the capacitive effect of this mass gives rise to distortions in the temperature field in the area of the gage, resulting in a small error in the sensed temperature. This temperature error, when used in the inversion for heat flux, also results in an error. In this report, a detailed model of a particular thin film gage is used to compute the response of the sensor to supposed heating conditions. The effect of contact resistance between the parent material and the lead wire connections is investigated. The response of the sensor, with and without the contact resistance, and the undisturbed surface temperature are compared to estimate the temperature error. Finally, the error in the computed heat flux is determined. A simple approximate technique based on superposition is applied to account for the sensor dynamics and correct the error in the estimated heat flux.

Copyright © 2011 by ASME



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