International Journal of Thermophysics

, Volume 35, Issue 2, pp 277–289 | Cite as

Measurement and Estimation of High-Vacuum Effective Thermal Conductivity of Polyimide Foam in the Temperature Range from 160 K to 370 K for Outer Space Applications

  • Ryuichi Takagi
  • Sumitaka Tachikawa
  • Takahiro Ohmura
  • Yuji Nagasaka


Polyimide foam (PF) is a low-thermal conductivity and lightweight material with high resistances against heat, protons, and UV irradiation. A new thermal insulation composed of PFs and multiple aluminized films (PF–MLI) has potential to be used in outer space as an alternative to conventional multilayer insulation (MLI). As fundamental numerical data, the effective thermal conductivity of PF in wide ranges of density and temperature need to be determined. In the present study, thermal-conductivity measurements were performed by both the periodic heating method and the guarded hot-plate method in the temperature range from 160 K to 370 K and the density range from 6.67 \(\mathrm{kg} \cdot \mathrm{m}^{-3}\) to 242.63 \(\mathrm{kg}\cdot \mathrm{m}^{-3}\). The experiments were carried out in a vacuum and under atmospheric pressure. For confirmation of the validity of the present guarded hot-plate apparatus under atmospheric pressure, the effective thermal conductivity of the lowest-density PF was measured with the aid of the heat flow meter apparatus calibrated by the standard reference material (NIST SRM 1450c) in the temperature range from 303 K to 323 K. In order to cross-check the present experimental results, the temperature and density dependences of the effective thermal conductivity of PF were estimated by means of the lattice Boltzmann method based on a dodecahedron inner microscopic complex structure model which reflects a real 3D X-ray CT image of PF.


Effective thermal conductivity Guarded hot-plate method  Lattice Boltzmann method Polyimide form Porous material Space applications 



The authors acknowledge Dr. Ohnishi (Institute of Space and Astronautical Science) for the initial concept on the present research and Messrs. Yasuhiro Hiasa, Takashi Sugihara, and Yuki Mizutani, students of Keio University at that time, for their assistance in carrying out experiments and calculations. The authors also wish to thank UBE Industries, Ltd. for supplying the polyimide foams. The work described in this paper was partially supported under a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (S) (No. 24226006) from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ryuichi Takagi
    • 1
  • Sumitaka Tachikawa
    • 2
  • Takahiro Ohmura
    • 3
  • Yuji Nagasaka
    • 4
  1. 1.School of Integrated Design EngineeringKeio UniversityKohoku, YokohamaJapan
  2. 2.Institute of Space and Astronautical ScienceJapan Aerospace and Exploration AgencySagamiharaJapan
  3. 3.NICHIAS CorporationKitaJapan
  4. 4.Department of System Design EngineeringKeio UniversityYokohamaJapan

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