The performance characteristics of a heat flux microsensor have been measured and analyzed. This is a new heat flux gage system that is made using microfabrication techniques. The gages are small, have high frequency response, can measure very high heat flux, and output a voltage directly proportional to the heat flux. Each gage consists of a thin thermal resistance layer sandwiched between many thermocouple pairs forming a differential thermopile. Because the gage is made directly on the measurement surface and the total thickness is less than 2µm, the presence of the gage contributes negligible flow and thermal disruption. The active surface area of the gage is 3 mm by 4 mm, with the leads attached outside this area to relay the surface heat flux and temperature signals.
Gages were made and tested on glass and silicon substrates. The steady and unsteady response was measured experimentally and compared with analytical predictions. The analysis was performed using a one-dimensional, transient, finite-difference model of the six layers comprising the gage plus the substrate. Steady-state calibrations were done on a convection heat transfer apparatus and the transient response was measured to step changes of the imposed radiative flux. As an example of the potential capabilities, the time-resolved heat flux was measured at a stagnation point with imposed freestream turbulence. A hot-film probe placed outside the boundary layer was used to provide a simultaneous signal showing the corresponding turbulent velocity fluctuations.