The paper describes a phase-sensitive photothermal technique for the determination of the thermal conductance of an interface, a thin interlayer, or crack embedded within a plate. The technique involves sinusoidally modulated heating at one point on the surface using a focused laser beam and measurement of the phase shift of the thermal wave at some other point. The technique is demonstrated using a model system comprising two stainless steel disks, placed either in direct contact with each other or with thin polyethylene sheets between them. The use of the technique for determining the conductance of delamination cracks in fiber-reinforced ceramic matrix composite is also demonstrated. [S0022-1481(00)02801-2]

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