Transport and Thermophysical Properties

National Laboratory: 
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Characterization Class: 
Extreme Environment Testing
Non-destructive examination

Oak Ridge National Laboratory provides world-class facilities and a staff of technical experts for determining transport and thermophysical properties, such as thermal conductivity, diffusivity, expansion, or specific heat, as well as characterizing thermal stability, high-temperature reactions and compatibility, and high-temperature oxidation and corrosion properties. Materials studied include metals, ceramics, superalloys, glasses, sand, paper, thermal barrier coatings, thermoelectrics, lithium-ion battery components, carbon materials, carbon composites, ceramic composites, metal matrix composites, and thick and thin films. In addition, high-performance infrared (IR) cameras are used in various thermography applications, including mapping temperatures and properties, monitoring processes, and non-destructively evaluating materials and structures. The thermography capability is portable and may be used for offsite projects.

Capability Bounds: 

Transport and thermophysical properties can be determined over a range of temperatures, from cryogenic to 1600°C and above. Test environments include inert, air, and vacuum capabilities. IR cameras cover the spectral range from 0.9–14 microns.

Unique Aspects: 

Special specimen holders have been developed, allowing thermal expansion and diffusivity measurements of molten materials. ORNL staff lead international round robin testing of thermoelectric materials properties. Thermography capabilities are portable and can be used offsite.


Facilities are available to industry through cooperative research and development agreements (CRADAs), Work For Others agreements, and U.S. Department of Energy funding.

Single Point of Contact: 

Name: Wallace Porter
Phone: 865-574-4460

  1. Wang, H, Dinwiddie, RB, and Porter, WD, Development of a Thermal Transport Database for Air Plasma Sprayed ZrO2-Y2O3 Thermal Barrier Coatings, J THERMAL SPRAY TECHNOLOGY, 2010, 19(5), 879-883
  2. Wang, H, et al, International Round-Robin Study of the Thermoelectric Transport Properties of an n-Type Half-Heusler Compound from 300 K to 773 K, J ELECTRONIC MATERIALS, 2015, 44(11), 4482-4491
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