Application of 3-omega method for thin-film heat flux gauge calibration

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4 Scopus citations


Double-sided thin-film resistance temperature detector (RTD) heat flux gauges (HFGs) are commonly used to characterize heat transfer rates in high-heat flux environments with complex flow features. These gauges comprise two thin-film RTDs on opposing sides of a dielectric. To deduce accurate heat flux, the RTDs must be properly calibrated and the material properties of the dielectric must be characterized. This study presents a complete gauge characterization method for sensors of this type by applying standard calibration procedures with specially-designed RTDs capable of utilizing the 3-omega method. The 3-omega method quantifies the thermal conductivity and thermal product of a material by measuring the response of a specially designed heater/thermometer deposited on the substrate. This study shows the 3-omega method enables RTD calibrations and thermal property determination over a range of temperatures for individual gauges, reducing the uncertainty in calculated heat flux. Although the method is quite general, this study utilized platinum RTDs with a polyimide dielectric, which is common in turbomachinery applications. The thermal properties obtained through this method agree with previous characterization efforts; however, discrete characterization of seven gauges shows that gauge-to-gauge variation in the dielectric could influence measured heat flux by as much as 30%. This study also builds the framework to characterize the thermal conductivity of the adhesive layer beneath the gauge which is necessary to mount the sensors to the test article. Although often uncharacterized, the adhesive thermal conductivity has a significant impact on matching experimental measurements to simulations. Additionally, this study found that if the thermal conductivity of the dielectric is constant (an assumption that holds for the present study), an in-situ RTD calibration can be performed. In-situ RTD calibration and traditional method RTD calibration agreed to within 0.1%. Overall, this work has practical implications in obtaining high quality measurements from HFGs of this type.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number114001
JournalMeasurement Science and Technology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Instrumentation
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Applied Mathematics


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