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Thermal management of USAF system & platforms requires thermal energy storage materials (TES) that can rapidly store large transient pulses of heat. Composites of salt hydrates and graphitic foam offer high thermal storage capabilities and high thermal conductivities. However, thermal transport across graphite-hydrous salt interfaces may limit the heat transfer through such a composite. Here, laser flash analysis was used to measure thermal diffusivity across graphite-water-graphite stacks and effective diffusivity of water layer and interface was determined. The effect of surfactant-water mixtures and two different surface treatments were analyzed. For all cases, including pure water interfacial layers, the measured effective diffusivity was lower than the accepted literature value for pure water (by 20% in the case of pure water). In the case of the surfactant-graphite mixtures, effective diffusivity is a function of the surfactant concentration. These differences suggest the importance of interfaces within composites.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Independent Research

Primary Advisor

Charles E. Browning

Primary Advisor's Department

Minority Engineering Program


Stander Symposium poster

Thermal Transport Across Watre-Graphite Interfaces