Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics (PhD)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics


Jason R. Blough


This thesis presents a methodology for measuring thermal properties in situ, with a special focus on obtaining properties of layered stack-ups commonly used in armored vehicle components. The technique involves attaching a thermal source to the surface of a component, measuring the heat flux transferred between the source and the component, and measuring the surface temperature response. The material properties of the component can subsequently be determined from measurement of the transient heat flux and temperature response at the surface alone. Experiments involving multilayered specimens show that the surface temperature response to a sinusoidal heat flux forcing function is also sinusoidal. A frequency domain analysis shows that sinusoidal thermal excitation produces a gain and phase shift behavior typical of linear systems. Additionally, this analysis shows that the material properties of sub-surface layers affect the frequency response function at the surface of a particular stack-up. The methodology involves coupling a thermal simulation tool with an optimization algorithm to determine the material properties from temperature and heat flux measurement data. Use of a sinusoidal forcing function not only provides a mechanism to perform the frequency domain analysis described above, but sinusoids also have the practical benefit of reducing the need for instrumentation of the backside of the component. Heat losses can be minimized by alternately injecting and extracting heat on the front surface, as long as sufficiently high frequencies are used.