Heat flux is an important parameter for characterization of the thermal impact of a fire on its surroundings. However, heat flux cannot be measured directly because it represents the rate of heat transfer to a unit area of surface. Therefore, most heat flux measurements are based on the measurement of temperature changes at or near the surface of interest [1,2]. Some instruments, such as the Gardon gauge [3] and the thermopile [2], measure the temperature difference between a surface and a heat sink. In radiation-dominated environments, this difference in temperature is often assumed to be linearly related to the incident heat flux. Other sensors measure a surface and/or interior temperature and inverse heat conduction methods frequently must be employed to calculate the corresponding heat flux [1,4]. Typical assumptions include one-dimensional conduction heat transfer and negligible heat loss from the surface. The thermal properties of the gauge materials must be known and, since these properties are functions of temperature, the problem often becomes non-linear.

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