A resistance to heat flow exists at the junction of two surfaces. It has long been recognized that there exists a hysteresis effect, that is, the value of thermal contact resistance in the unloading process is less than that in the loading process at the same load. However, little work has been done in utilizing this phenomenon to enhance the thermal contact conductance. The present experimental work investigated the effect of loading history; in particular the number of load cycles and overloading pressure, on the thermal contact conductance. It was found that the value of the thermal contact conductance might be enhanced by up to 51 percent. A cost-effective way of enhancing the contact conductance is suggested. [S0022-1481(00)01601-7]

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