A new experimental method for observation of rates of transient heat transfer across a solid-fluid boundary is described. Observations of the photoelastic birefringence due to the transient thermal stress in a regular transparent solid can be analyzed to yield effective surface heat transfer coefficients. The method is illustrated by determinations of effective surface heat transfer coefficients for spheres undergoing thermal shocks in several liquids. Resulting values agree with published data obtained by steady state methods. New data are presented for liquid tin and mercury.

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