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MIME 3450 Laboratory 3:

Heat Conduction
Makenzie Dorring, Corey Tipton, Diego Sierra

Section 3-A

March 1, 2018

In this experiment, five flat plates made of different materials were placed on top of a steam

chamber. After the conditions became stable, the temperatures were measured then used to

calculate thermal resistance and thermal conductivity values. The order of the plates consisted of

the glass closest to the hot plate, followed by wood, masonite, lexan, and finally, the sheet rock.

The errors in the experiment were minimal. The total thermal resistance of the system was

m2 K W
calculated to be 0.2094 . The heat flux of the system was calculated to be 182.9 2 .
W m


The objective of “Experiment 3: Heat Conduction” was to study thermal resistivity of a

composite wall in a laboratory setting. For the experiment, there were five stacked flat plates of

known material (known thermal conductivity values) to simulate a composite wall.


Five flat plates were gathered for the heat conduction experiment. The plates were made of

masonite, wood (pine), lexan, sheet rock, and glass materials. First, the thickness of each plate

was measured. The glass plate was placed on the steam chamber. The rest of plates were stacked

on top of the glass; the order of the plates was recorded. Thermocouples were used to measure

the temperature at each plate. The recorded information was used to calculate theoretical

temperatures, thermal resistances, and heat flux of the simulated composite wall.

Figure 1: Experimental Set-Up

Results and Analysis

First, the thermal resistance of each plate was determined using the properties of each plate

(Equation 1). The thermal resistances were used to calculate the total resistance of the composite

wall (Equation 2). All calculated values are displayed in Table 1.

Equation 1:

Equation 2:

Table 1: Calculated Values for Composite Wall

Next, the heat flux of the composite wall was calculated (Equation 3).

Equation 3:

Using the heat flux calculated in equation 3 and an air-side temperature of 314.85 K, the

theoretical temperatures at each plate were calculated (Equations 4-8). All theoretical and actual

temperatures are displayed in Table 2 below.

Equation 4:

Equation 5:

Equation 6:

Equation 7:

Equation 8:

Table 2: Temperature Values for Composite Wall

A graph was created to compare the theoretical and measured temperatures at each plate.

Graph 1: Temperature Curves

Finally, the thermal conductivities were recalculated for the experiment using the calculated heat

flux, measured temperatures, and measured thicknesses (Equation 9). The recalculated thermal

conductivity values are displayed in Table 1 above. Thermal resistance values were calculated

using the new thermal conductivity values and are also displayed in Table 1 above. The heat flux

was recalculated using the new total thermal resistance value (Equation 10).

Equation 9:

Equation 10:

Discussion and Conclusion

From the graph of the temperature curves, the measured temperature values were fairly close in

value to the theoretical temperature values at the plate locations. The temperatures with the

highest percent errors were temperatures 2 and 3. Even these temperatures had percent errors of

only 1.4% and 2.7% respectively. The measured temperatures for the experiment were fairly

accurate. The recalculated thermal conductivity values do not match the theoretical thermal

conductivity values except for the value for the material Lexan. The thermal conductivity values

for Wood, Sheet Rock, and Glass were lower than the published values while the thermal

conductivity value for masonite was higher than the published value. The differences could occur

due to a couple reasons. The main reasons for errors were that this experiment was done in 3-D

but is being mathematically treated like a 1-D problem. Also, the plates had imperfect thermal

contact. Air was allowed to flow between the plates, affecting the accuracy of the calculations.

The recalculated thermal conductivity values changed the values of the individual thermal

resistances. However, the total thermal resistance of the composite wall remained unchanged.

This allowed the recalculated heat flux value to be the same as the originally calculated heat flux



[1] Ahmed Abdelaal, Class Notes for Instruction. Course # MIME-3450: Energy Laboratory,

Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio, USA. Spring

2018 Edition.