Thermal Characterization and Modeling of Materials/Interfaces

National Laboratory: 
National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Characterization Class: 
Extreme Environment Testing
Mechanical Behavior of Materials
Computational Tools Class: 

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory focuses on advanced thermal and thermomechanical aspects for materials and interfaces for numerous applications, and performs comprehensive evaluation through experimentation and modeling.

Capability Bounds: 

Multiple techniques are available to characterize thermal resistance and thermal conductivity for a wide range of materials over different temperature ranges, and also in the presence of magnetic fields. Capabilities include measurements of bulk materials, layered structures, and interfaces with thermal resistances below 1 mm2-K/W. Standard and advanced IR spectrophotometry measurement capabilities are also available for reflectance, transmittance and absorption characterization of radiation of different wavelengths.


Heat exchanger testing also is possible for a range of cooling, including water-ethylene glycol, automatic transmission fluid, dielectric refrigerants, and air. Additional experimental capabilities include thermal imaging and calorimetry. Modeling capabilities include thermal finite element, computational fluid dynamics, and sub-continuum thermal transport modeling.

Unique Aspects: 

The diverse range of experimental thermal characterization tools provides multiple techniques that can be applied based on the application’s needs. The experimental techniques consist of commercial tools, as well as customized experimental setups, built on decades of experience in thermal/thermomechanical experimental and modeling tools and techniques.


All modeling tools and experimental capabilities are available. An NREL researcher will work with the industry contact to develop an appropriate statement of work, and NREL researchers will complete testing, evaluation, and modeling.

Single Point of Contact: 

Name: Kevin Bennion
Phone: 303-275-4447

  1. S. Narumanchi, M. Mihalic, K. Kelly, and G. Eesley, “Thermal Interface Materials for Power Electronics Applications,” in 11th Intersociety Conference on Thermal and Thermomechanical Phenomena in Electronic Systems (ITherm), Orlando, FL, 2008, pp. 395–404
  2. G. Moreno, S. Narumanchi, T. Venson, and K. Bennion, “Microstructured Surfaces for Single-Phase Jet Impingement Heat Transfer Enhancement,” J. Thermal Sci. Eng. Appl., vol. 5, no. 3, Jun. 2013.
  3. A. Bar-Cohen, K. Matin, and S. Narumanchi, “Nanothermal Interface Materials: Technology Review and Recent Results,” J. Electron. Packag, vol. 137, no. 4, pp. 040803–040803, Oct. 2015.
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