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Performance and Modeling of Heat Flux Sensors in Different Environments



David G. Holmberg, C A. Womeldorf


Heat flux measurement is not simple; care is required in selecting a suitable sensor for a given application. Surface substrate properties and the convective and radiative environment determine the choice of sensors. Mounting of the sensor, especially in calibration versus application, influences accuracy of measurment. The purpose of the present study is to increase awareness of poential errors in the heat flux sensor use. This paper compares sensor performance in general by examining results of testing three commercially available sensors and by numerical modeling of these sensors. Comparisons of sensor calibrations in the NIST convective heat flux calibration facility are made with manufacturer calibrations and give evidence of potential pitfalls when using a sensor in a different environment than the calibration environment. Modeling results help explain observed data, demonstrating specific sensor parameters that can lead to significantly different calibrations in differen environments.


Holmberg, D. and Womeldorf, C. (1999), Performance and Modeling of Heat Flux Sensors in Different Environments, Other, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed April 13, 2024)
Created January 1, 1999, Updated February 19, 2017