What is heat flux

What is heat flux ?



This short note aims to give the reader a global overview of the principle of heat flux with more details:

  • Definition
  • Working principle
  • Research and Industrial applications.

Heat Flux Definition


Elevated body Temperature monitoring

It describes the rate of heat energy that passes through a surface. Depending on its exact definition, its unit can be expressed as either W/m2 or W. Practically speaking, it originates from a temperature differences in a given system. The induced heat always flows from the hot to the cold side. In order for this phenomenon to exist, it requires, not only a temperature difference, but also a medium through which it can flow.

Heat can flow through solid materials (in which case it is called conduction), through gases and liquids (which is called convection) and through electromagnetic waves (which is called radiation). Heat Flux depends on the temperature difference and the thermal transfer coefficient.

The following equation defines heat flux with respect to the temperature difference and the thermal transfer coefficient: HF = ∆T x HTC with HF, the Heat Flux, in W/m2, ∆T, the temperature difference [K], and HTC, the heat transfer coefficient, in W/(m2K).


For Researchers

Heat transfer is important for many research fields including:

  • Chemical Engineering
  • Fluid Mechanics
  • Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR)
  • Biology
  • Microfluidics
  • Phase Change Materials (PCMs)

what is heat flux
what is heat flux

For Industrials

Heat transfer is very important for many different industrial applications. Find below a list of industrial applications where heat transfer measurements are important:

  • Fouling detection (Full short review available here).
  • Battery Calorimetry Evaluation (Full review available here).
  • Solar Measurement
  • Thermal characterization of Fabrics for specific applications.
  • … and many more!

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