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Name: Gilad
Status: student
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Question:
A question was posted on your site considering whether there is a relation between thermal conductivity and specific heat. One of your tutors answered that there is not. Please reference him to Fourrier's heat formula and its derivatives where he will find that the relation between the two is thermal diffusivity.



Replies:
Gilad,

I found this question in the archives:
http://www.newton.dep.anl.gov/askasci/mats05/mats05052.htm
If this is the question to which you are referring, I think you might be thinking of a different meaning of the word "relation" than the questioner intended. (if you mean a different question, please let me know which you mean)

One meaning of 'relation' is purely mathematical, meaning 'is there an equation that contains both terms'. By that meaning, you are correct -- thermal diffusivity is simply the ratio of thermal conductivity to heat capacity, so yeah, there exists an equation with those three terms. If you know two of the three terms then calculating the third is trivial. However, I don't think that was the point of the question.

I think the question that was being asked was not about simple algebra, but a more basic question about a relationship (i.e not just an equation that contains both terms) between the two properties. I interpreted the question (as did the responder) to be about if you could determine the thermal conductivity based on knowing heat capacity, or vice versa. The answer given is that the two are independent quantities -- and I believe that response is quite correct.

Hope this helps,

Burr Zimmerman



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