A well-established method for determining the thermal diffusivity of materials is the laser flash method. The work presented here compares two analysis methods for flash heating tests on anisotropic carbon bonded carbon fiber (CBCF). This material exhibits a higher conductivity in the direction in which the fibers are oriented than in the direction perpendicular to the fiber orientation.

The two analysis methods being compared in this experiment use different portions of the data in obtaining results. One method utilizes the temperature data from the entire surface of the sample by examining 201 temperature histories simultaneously, with each temperature history originating from an individual pixel within a line across the middle of the sample. The other analysis method utilizes only the temperature history from a single pixel in the center of the sample, similar to the data which is traditionally generated using the classical flash diffusivity method. Both analysis methods include accommodations for modeling the penetration of the laser flash into the porous surface of the CBCF material. Additionally, both models include a parameter which accounts for the non-uniform heating of the sample surface from the flash. Although the sample surface is ostensibly heated uniformly in flash diffusivity experiments, the heating has been found to be somewhat non-uniform, with more energy deposited more heavily in the center of the sample. This affects the analysis results, particularly in tests on anisotropic materials. The results in this work show very little difference between the thermal parameters arising from the two methods. The robustness of the method using the single-pixel temperature history shows that anisotropic thermal diffusivity can be measured using standard flash diffusivity instruments, avoiding the additional complexity associated with a thermal imaging camera.

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