A Technique for Measuring the Thermal Conductivity and Evaluating the “Apparent Conductivity” Concept in Biomaterials

[+] Author and Article Information
H. Arkin

Department of Veterinary Biosciences; Also Department of Agricultural Engineering, Technion, Haifa 32000, Israel

K. R. Holmes

Department of Veterinary Biosciences, University of Illinois, Urbana, Ill. 61801

M. M. Chen

Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of Illinois, Urbana, Ill. 61801

J Biomech Eng 111(4), 276-282 (Nov 01, 1989) (7 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3168379 History: Received October 03, 1988; Revised June 14, 1989; Online June 12, 2009


A simple technique for measuring thermal conductivity of biomaterials is described. The method is based on depositing a pulse of heat into the material of choice, and fitting the subsequent local temperature decay to that predicted by a theoretical model. This transient method is most suitable in situations where frequent measurements of the thermal conductivity are desired. The method was evaluated by calculating the thermal conductivity of several inert materials. The measured conductivities compared well with published values. The developed technique was also used to examine the applicability of the “apparent conductivity” index to combine both conductive and blood-convective thermal effects in living, blood perfused tissues. Using both simulated and experimental results, it was shown that the changes in the apparent conductivity are highly correlated with changes in blood flow. However, quantitative application of this index must be restricted to conditions that are similar to those which existed at the time the apparent conductivity was measured.

Copyright © 1989 by ASME
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