Calculating thermal properties of solids from laser flash experiments

Study level

Master of Philosophy


Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.


Dr Elliot Carr
Senior Lecturer
Division / Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty


Thermal diffusivity is an important property that determines the rate heat is transferred through a material.

The most common way to measure the thermal diffusivity of a solid material is to perform the laser flash experiment, which involves subjecting the front surface of a small sample to a heat pulse of radiant energy and recording the resulting temperature rise on the opposite (rear) surface.

Recently, Dr Elliot Carr has developed a new method to calculate the thermal diffusivity from the rear-surface temperature data that produces improved estimates compared to the commonly used half-rise time approach.

This project will focus on extending these ideas to other thermal properties and more general sample configurations.

Research activities

You will meet regularly with Dr Carr to acquire new knowledge, brainstorm ideas, discuss your progress and receive feedback and direction on your work.

This project will involve pen and paper derivations and calculations, developing code in MATLAB and communicating your work in written form.


You will develop new skills in:

  • partial differential equations
  • computational mathematics
  • programming (MATLAB)
  • mathematical writing
  • LaTeX typesetting.

New techniques/knowledge/results generated during your project will be published in leading mathematical/scientific journals.

Skills and experience

This project can be tailored to your study level whether you are an Honours or Masters student. This topic can also be personalised to suit your individual skills.

Ideally, the you will have some prior experience with solving ordinary or partial differential equations in MATLAB.


You may be able to apply for a research scholarship in our annual scholarship round.

Annual scholarship round



Contact the supervisor for more information.