As today’s technology continues to develop at a rate that was once unimaginable, the demand for new materials that will outperform traditional materials also increases dramatically. To meet these challenges, monolithic materials are being combined to develop new unique materials called composites. Thermophysical properties of composite materials such as thermal conductivity, diffusivity, specific heat, and thermal expansion are very important in engineering design process and analysis of aerospace vehicles as well as space systems. These properties are also important in power generation, transportation, and energy storage devices including fuel cells. Thermal conductivity is the property that determines the working temperature levels of a material and plays a critical role in the performance of materials in high temperature applications. This parameter is important in problems involving heat transfer and thermal structures.
The objective of this paper is to develop a thermal properties database for the carbon-epoxy AS4/3501-6 composite. The AS4 carbon fiber used is a unidirectional continuous PAN based fiber, and the 3501-6 epoxy resin is amine cured and provides low shrinkage during the curing process while maintain resistance to chemicals and solvents. The thermophysical properties of the AS4 composite have been investigated using experimental methods. The flash method was used to measure the thermal diffusivity of the composite based on the American Society for Testing and Materials standard, ASTM E1461. In addition, the Differential Scanning Calorimeter was used in accordance with the ASTM E1269 standard to measure the specific heat. The measured thermal diffusivity, specific heat, and density were used to compute the thermal conductivity, thus adding to the currently insufficient database for composite materials and foams.