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# Thermal diffusivity

In heat transfer analysis, thermal diffusivity (symbol: α) is the ratio of thermal conductivity to heat capacity.

$\alpha = {k \over {\rho c_p}}$

where

k is thermal conductivity, measured in watts per metre-kelvin

ρcp is the volumetric heat capacity, measured in joules per cubic metre-kelvin

The SI units are square metres per second or m²/s.

Substances with high thermal diffusivity rapidly adjust their temperature to that of their surroundings, because they conduct heat quickly in comparison to their thermal 'bulk'.

03-10-2013 05:06:04