Experimental investigation on thermal contact resistance of alumina fibrous insulation material with Ti-6Al-4V alloy at high temperature and its effective thermal conductivity

  • Vinh Tung Le
  • Nam Seo GooEmail author
  • Jae Young Kim


Heat transfer through thermal insulation material is an important process in the design and performance evaluation of an insulation system, which is a key component of space vehicles. Accurate information on heat transfer analysis requires determination of thermal contact resistance (TCR) between the insulation material and the super-alloy plate. In this study, test equipment was designed to measure the TCR as well as the effective thermal conductivity of low thermal conductivity fibrous insulation material at high temperatures and in atmospheric pressure conditions. Two heat-flux meters were used to measure the heat flux from the bottom (high temperature) to the top (low temperature) of a fibrous sample in the test column. The two-thickness method was used to obtain the TCR and the effective thermal conductivity. An uncertainty analysis was also evaluated, which proved that the most important factor in the TCR measurement was the heat flux calculation. The result reveals that the TCR values become high at small contact pressures. The TCR decreased with an increase in the compressive load and significantly contributed to the total thermal resistance of the fibrous sample, approximately 42% and 35% when the average temperature of the sample was 190 °C and 290 °C, respectively. The effective thermal conductivity of the fibrous sample decreased slightly with an increase in the average temperature due to the presence of the carbonization of the binder resin. The numerical method validated the experimental results well. In addition, the micrograph images of the contact surface were investigated.



Cross-sectional area (m2)


Diameter (m)


Grashof number


Total heat conductance (W/m2⋅°C)


Convection heat transfer coefficient (W/m2⋅°C)


Thermal conductivity (W/m⋅°C)


Parameter related to thermal conductivity


Effective thermal conductivity (W/m⋅°C)


Height of cylinder (m)


Nusselt number


Parameter associated to the slope of thermal conductivity over a temperature change


Prandtl number


Heat flux (W/m2)


Heat transfer rate (W)


Thermal resistance (°C⋅m2/W)


Rayleigh number


Scanning electron microscope


Temperature (°C)


Thermal contact resistance (°C⋅m2/W)


Sample thickness (m)


Nominal sample thickness (m)


Height (m)

Greek symbols






Density (kg/m3)


Stefan-Boltzmann constant





Ambient air


Average value


Lower heat-flux meter


Bulk material




Saffil insulation sample


Contact at the top of the fibrous insulation


The ith thermocouple test point


The jth thermocouple test point


Core material








Contact at the bottom of the fibrous insulation




Upper heat-flux meter


Sample 1


Sample 2



This paper was supported by Konkuk University in 2018. The authors are grateful for the financial support.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest statement

The authors whose names are listed immediately below report the following details of affiliation or involvement in an organization or entity with a financial or non-financial interest in the subject matter or materials discussed in this manuscript.

Author names: Vinh Tung Le (Konkuk University, Republic of Korea), Nam Seo Goo (Konkuk University, Republic of Korea), Jae Young Kim (Agency for Defense Development, Republic of Korea).

Supplementary material

231_2018_2551_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (12 kb)
ESM 1 (XLSX 12 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Smart Microsystem Research Laboratory, Department of Advanced Technology Fusion, College of EngineeringKonkuk UniversitySeoulRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.The 1st R&D Institute-2Agency for Defense DevelopmentDaejeonRepublic of Korea

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