Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Saad, Dr. Messiha


Thermal characterization of composites is essential for their proper assignment to a specific application. Specific heat, thermal diffusivity, and thermal conductivity of carbon-carbon composites are essential in the engineering design process and in the analysis of aerospace vehicles, space systems and other high temperature thermal systems. Specifically, thermal conductivity determines the working temperature levels of a material and is influential in its performance in high temperature applications. There is insufficient thermal property data for carbon-carbon composites over a range of temperatures. The purpose of this research is to develop a thermal properties database for carbon-carbon composites that will contain in-plane (i-p) and through-the-thickness (t-t-t) thermal data at different temperatures as well as display the effects of graphitization on the composite material. The carbon-carbon composites tested were fabricated by the Resin Transfer Molding (RTM) technique, utilizing T300 2-D carbon fabric and Primaset PT-30 cyanate ester resin. Experimental methods were employed to measure the thermal properties. Following the ASTM standard E-1461, the flash method enabled the direct measurement of thermal diffusivity. Additionally, differential scanning calorimetry was performed in accordance with the ASTM E 1269 standard to measure the specific heat. The measured thermal diffusivity, specific heat, and density data were used to compute the thermal conductivity of the carbon-carbon composites. The measured through-the-thickness thermal conductivity values of all the materials tested range from 1.0 to 17 W/m.K, while in-plane values range from 3.8 to 4.6 W/m.K due to the effect of fiber orientation. Additionally, the graphitized samples exhibit a higher thermal conductivity because of the nature of the ordered graphite structure.