ECTP2005 Workshops

The Industrial requirements for thermophysical properties - are we responding to industry needs?, leader P Quested (U.K.)

The aim of this workshop is to explore the requirements of industry and other users for thermophysical property data The objective is to establish what developments are required to better meet the users requirements.


Users require thermophysical data for a variety of reasons and this influences their demands on the provider. This list proves a guide to some of the issues that need addressing. It is not comprehensive and I would greatly appreciate comments before the workshop to ensure that the content is relevant. My contact details are given below.




There is an increasing use of mathematical models to simulate industrial processes. The perceived advantage is economic, allowing “mistakes to be made in the computer” before expensive manufacture commences. Examples of the industries which use these models are the metal processing; polymer manufacture and forming; engineering of surfaces and composite manufacture. These models represent a large investment for any company or organisation, resulting both from their initial cost but more significantly from the need for a dedicated engineer to run them.

Thermophysical properties play an increasingly important part as input into processing of materials; subsequent characterisation including establishing their fitness for purpose and establishing their performance. An important factor in successfully implementing these simulation models is the availability of valid and adequate thermophysical data.

 Which industries/processes use simulation models?

 What thermophysical data are required?

 What uncertainties of measurement in input data are acceptable? (Sensitivity analysis of the model to changes in input data)

 Not all these properties are seen as traditionally “Thermophysical Properties.”  Does the community want to measure them?

 Where are data sourced? (e.g. Compendia; literature; prediction; measurement, web based systems e.g. EVITherM)

 Can we measure what is asked for ?




Industrialists are increasingly relying on R&D institutes to supply their data. This can mean they do not fully understand the measurement methods and may have unrealistically high expectations from the provider. For example the uncertainty of measurement for the specific heat of a reactive liquid metal at high temperatures will be higher than for the measurement of the specific heat of an inert solid at room temperature. Conversely the provider may not fully understand the customer’s requirement.

 How do we best educate the customer and the provider? Books; papers;, meetings; personal contact and web sites e.g.EVITherM..




The property requirement for new materials does not necessarily require the application of new methods although it is likely that some understanding of the measurement method, its limitations and uncertainties is required. For example what do we mean by temperature at the small scales applied to Nano structures?

 Which new materials are we likely to be asked to investigate (e.g. Nano structured; fuel cells?)

 What are the requirements for thermophysical properties for these “new” materials?

See also “Properties of novel fluids: Bio-, Nano- and beyond” this conference.




Properties are frequently modelled e.g. using thermodynamics, from first principles, or empirically.

 How successful are these methods?

 Are they adequate for many purposes?

 How are they validated?




Another important area is certifying materials or systems which is becoming increasingly important, for example in the thermal performance of insulations, to meet regulations aimed at saving energy. The customer is often driven to have tests performed by the regulatory authorities and has little interest in the test. He wants a “number” quickly to sell his product.

 In some cases the test has not been routinely developed to give the required level of uncertainty of measurement.

 The customer will go to the provider that gives a number, which passes his product. This can be a licence for poor testing.

 For some of the more difficult tests there is insufficient capacity to meet the high transient demand following the introduction of regulations and the customer does not understand the delivery times for the test.


The final question: What do we need to do to respond to industrial and users requirements?


Dr Peter Quested,

Division of Engineering and Process Control,

National Physical Laboratory,

Teddington, U.K. TW11 0LW.

Tel:        +44 (0)20 8943 6141

Fax:       +44 (0)20 8943 2989