The calculation of the surface temperature and surface heat flux from a measured temperature history at an interior point of a body is identified in the literature as the inverse heat conduction problem. This paper presents, to the author’s knowledge, the first application of a solution technique for the inverse problem that utilizes a finite element heat conduction model and Beck’s nonlinear estimation procedure. The technique is applicable to the one-dimensional nonlinear model with temperature-dependent thermophysical properties. The formulation is applied first to a numerical example with a known solution. The example treated is that of a periodic heat flux imposed on the surface of a rod. The computed surface heat flux is compared with the imposed heat flux to evaluate the performance of the technique in solving the inverse problem. Finally, the technique is applied to an experimentally determined temperature transient taken from an interior point of an electrically-heated composite rod. The results are compared with those obtained by applying a finite difference inverse technique to the same data.

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