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Predicting the thermal conductivity of aluminium alloys in the cryogenic to room temperature range

Adam L. Woodcraft

Cardiff School of Physics and Astronomy, Cardiff University, 5, The Parade, Cardiff, CF24 3YB, UK
(Dated: 3rd March 2005)
Aluminium alloys are being used increasingly in cryogenic systems. However, cryogenic thermal conduc-
tivity measurements have been made on only a few of the many types in general use. This paper describes a
method of predicting the thermal conductivity of any aluminium alloy between the superconducting transition
temperature (approximately 1 K) and room temperature, based on a measurement of the thermal conductivity
or electrical resistivity at a single temperature. Where predictions are based on low temperature measurements
(approximately 4 K and below), the accuracy is generally better than 10%. Useful predictions can also be
made from room temperature measurements for most alloys, but with reduced accuracy. This method permits
aluminium alloys to be used in situations where the thermal conductivity is important without having to make
(or find) direct measurements over the entire temperature range of interest. There is therefore greater scope to
choose alloys based on mechanical properties and availability, rather than on whether cryogenic thermal conduc-
tivity measurements have been made. Recommended thermal conductivity values are presented for aluminium
6082 (based on a new measurement), and for 1000 series, and types 2014, 2024, 2219, 3003, 5052, 5083, 5086,
5154, 6061, 6063, 6082, 7039 and 7075 (based on low temperature measurements in the literature).
Keywords: metals (A); thermal conductivity (C); electrical conductivity (C)
Cryogenics 45 (6) 421-431 (2005)
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/00112275
I. INTRODUCTION
Aluminium alloys are increasingly used in cryogenic sys-
tems and particularly - due to their low density - in aerospace
applications. Despite this, information on their thermal con-
ductivity at low temperatures is limited. There are many dif-
ferent types of alloy in general use, and cryogenic thermal
conductivity measurements have been made on only a few.
The situation is complicated by the fact that readily available
aluminium alloys vary from country to country. Since the ma-
jority of measurements have been made in the USA, this is of
particular concern to workers in other parts of the world.
Making accurate thermal conductivity measurements over
the temperature range from 1 K to room temperature is diffi-
cult and time consuming. However, it is well known that for
most metals at liquid helium temperatures the Wiedemann-
Franz law [1] can be used to convert electrical resistivity mea-
surements into thermal conductivity. This is extremely useful,
since it is much easier to measure resistivity than thermal con-
ductivity. At higher temperatures, though, converting between
the two quantities is not straightforward.
Hust et al. [2] have presented a set of equations for pure
aluminium which enable predictions of the thermal conduc-
tivity to be made based on a measurement of the thermal con-
ductivity or electrical resistivity at a single temperature. The
resulting values are valid for temperatures from the supercon-
ducting transition temperature (T
c
) to room temperature and
above. Here, I show that a modified version of these equations
enables similar predictions to be carried out for aluminium
alloys (defined here as being of “commercial” purity (1000

E-mail: adam.woodcraft@physics.org. Tel.: +44-870-765-1873; Fax: + 44-
29-2087-4056
series) or less). While the greatest accuracy is achieved by
using low temperature measurements, useful values can also
be produced from room temperature measurements for most
aluminium alloys.
This enables aluminium alloys to be used with confidence
in applications where the thermal conductivity is important,
even when no direct measurements are available. Where mea-
surements have been made, these equations can provide a
good check on the likely accuracy of the measurement.
Readers wishing to apply the methods described in this
paper and willing to trust the reasoning may continue
reading at section V, which is reasonably self-contained.
In addition, a conductivity calculator using the results
from this paper is available on the world wide web at
http://links.lowtemp.org/alkappa.html.
II. EQUATIONS
Hust et al. [2] present a set of semi-empirical equations
which can be used to describe the normal state thermal con-
ductivity of pure metals from arbitrarily low temperatures to
room temperature and above. The thermal conductivity is
given by
κ =
1
W
0
+W
i
+W
i0
, (1)
where W
0
and W
i
represent the thermal resistance due to
electron-defect and electron-phonon interactions respectively.
Hence W
0
depends on the chemical purity and physical struc-
ture of the material, while W
i
is, to a good approximation, an
intrinsic property of a given metal. The final term, W
i0
, is
necessary to produce acceptable fits. These terms are given
by:
W
0
=
β
T
, (2)
2
W
i
= P
1
T
P2
×
_
1 +P
1
P
3
T
(P2+P4)
exp
_

_
_
P5
T
_
P6
___
−1
+W
c
(3)
and
W
i0
= P
7
W
i
W
0
W
i
+W
0
, (4)
where T is temperature. The parameter β varies with the
purity of the metal, and can be written as a function of the
residual resistivity ρ
0
(the constant value of resistivity in the
limit of zero temperature):
β =
ρ
0
L
0
, (5)
by applying the Wiedemann-Franz law [1]
κ =
L
0
T
ρ
, (6)
where ρ is resistivity and L
0
is the Lorenz number (2.45 ×
10
−8
WΩK
−2
).
Metal conductivity is often characterised by the residual re-
sistance ratio (RRR); this is the ratio of room temperature to
residual resistance, and is thus related to β by
RRR =
_
ρ
RT
L
0
_
1
β
, (7)
where ρ
RT
is the room temperature resistivity. Since the vari-
ation of ρ
RT
with purity is very small for pure aluminium,
β can be taken to be inversely proportional to RRR to a very
good approximation. This is not true for alloys, and for conve-
nience results are expressed here in terms of equivalent resid-
ual resistivity RRR

, defined by
RRR

=
ρ
RT_pure
ρ
0
, (8)
where ρ
RT_pure
is a value for the roomtemperature resistivity
of pure aluminium, taken here as 2.43×10
−8
Ωm [3]. RRR

is thus inversely proportional to β.
Table I: Fit parameters [2] for the thermal conductivity of pure alu-
minium using equations 3 and 4.
Parameter Value
P1 4.716 ×10
−8
P2 2.446
P3 623.6
P4 -0.16
P5 130.9
P6 2.5
P7 0.8168
Note that the choice of the value for ρ
RT_pure
does not
affect the results quoted here; it just alters the scaling of the
quoted values for RRR

.
Returning to Eq. 1, the parameters P
1
to P
7
can be deter-
mined for a given metal by least squares fitting to measure-
ments. The W
c
term is a function of temperature chosen em-
pirically to improve the accuracy of the fits.
The parameters determined for pure aluminium [2] are
given in Table I. Fits using these parameters were then com-
pared with experimental data for high purity samples to obtain
an expression for W
c
:
W
c
= −0.0005 ln
_
T
330
_
exp
_
_

_
ln
_
T
380
_
0.6
_
2
_
_
−0.0013 ln
_
T
110
_
exp
_
_

_
ln
_
T
94
_
0.5
_
2
_
_
(9)
These results were obtained by carrying out fits to data from
the literature for relatively large, well annealed specimens.
However, it was found that these values also produced good
fits to data for unannealed specimens, being accurate to
±20%. The fits are applicable to samples with residual re-
sistivity values from RRR=10 to RRR=10 000.
These equations do not apply to aluminium in the super-
conducting state. The superconducting transition temperature
(T
c
) of aluminium alloys depends strongly on the extent to
which each impurity is in solid solution [4, 5]. Predicting T
c
for a commercial alloy is difficult since there has been little
work on the effect of the presence of many different impuri-
ties, as is found in commercial alloys. In addition, the amount
of each impurity in solid solution is usually not well known.
The small number of reported measurements [6–13] on com-
mercial alloys give values of T
c
varying from below 400 mK
to 1.4 K. No particular pattern is evident other than that the
highest values appear to correspond to aluminium-silicon and
aluminium-lithium alloys; the highest value for other alloy
types is approximately 1 K.
III. FITTING
A literature search was carried out to obtain a database of
thermal conductivity measurements for commercially avail-
able aluminium alloys. Several compilations [16, 17, 20, 21]
were consulted in addition to original papers. The database
was restricted to sets of data which covered a temperature
range extending below 30 K and above 100 K, and thus
included the conductivity peak. In total, 29 datasets were
found which met this criterion; these are referred to below as
database 1. Where possible, the temper (cold working and/or
heat treatment) of the samples was noted, since conductivity
can vary significantly with temper. These datasets covered a
range of RRR

from 0.8 to 13.8, overlapping with the range
in Ref. [2] (RRR 10 and above).
Different attempts at using Eq. 1 to fit the measurements
are shown in Table II. In general, attempts at fits were either
3
Table II: The different fits carried out
Row Fixed parameters (and values) Global fit parameters
a
Individual fit parameters
b
Wc
c
Database Success
d
1 P1 to P7 (Table I) — β Yes 1 Poor
2 — — β, P1 to P7 Yes 1 24/29
3 — — β, P1 to P7 Yes 2 15/15
e
4 — P1 to P7 β Yes 2 Poor
5 — P1 to P7 β No 2 Poor
6 P2, P4 to P7 (Table I) — β, P1, P3 Yes 2 12/15
7 — P2, P4 to P7 β, P1, P3 Yes 2 12/15
f
8 — P2, P4 to P7 β, P1, P3 No 2 12/15
f
9 P2, P4 to P7 (Table I) — β Yes 2 12/15
P1,P3 (Eq. 10 & 11, Table IV)
10 P2, P4 to P7 (Table I) — β No 2 12/15
g
P1, P3 (Eq. 10 & 11, Table IV)
a
These parameters were allowed to vary, but with the same value used for
each dataset
b
These parameters were fitted separately for each dataset
c
Denotes whether the Wc term (equation 9) was included in equation 3
d
A successful fit is defined as one where no point deviated from the fit by
more than 10%. The same 12 datasets were successful for rows 6 to 10
e
Database 2 consists of database 1 with all data from references [22] and
[23] removed
f
No significant change from row 6
g
Quality of fits slightly better than for row 9.
successful or complete failures, and it was thus obvious which
methods of fitting were appropriate.
Fits using parameters for pure aluminiumwere not success-
ful (Table II, row 1). However, allowing all parameters to vary
separately for each dataset produced good fits to most of the
measurements (row 2). The five unsuccessful fits all corre-
sponded to data obtained by one particular group [22, 23]. A
full description of their experimental configuration was not
given, and it seems plausible that the measurements suffer
from significant experimental error. Therefore all measure-
ments from this group were rejected from further consider-
ation leaving 15 datasets remaining (database 2); these are
listed in Table III along with further datasets not used at this
stage of the analysis.
It was not possible to find any values of the parameters P
1
to P
7
which allowed good fits to be obtained by varying only
β with each dataset (rows 4 &5). However, good fits did result
for most datasets if only β, P
1
and P
3
were allowed to vary for
each dataset (rows 6-8). The remaining parameters were fixed,
with a choice of the pure aluminiumparameters being as good
as allowing them to take other values. It is therefore possible
to make a three parameter fit to each dataset. Furthermore,
plotting P
1
and P
3
as a function of RRR

(equivalent to β)
shows a systematic dependence. This is shown in Figure 1,
along with fits to the data.
Since equation 1 is not very sensitive to the values of P
1
and P
3
, the exact form of the fits is not important. Power-laws
were chosen since they were the simplest functions which pro-
duced acceptable fits. The equations used for P
1
and P
3
are
P
1
(RRR

) = min
_
α
1
(RRR

)
β1
, P
1_pure
_
(10)
and
P
3
(RRR

) = max
_
α
3
(RRR

)
β3
, P
3_pure
_
(11)
where P
1_pure
and P
3_pure
are the pure aluminium values
for P
1
and P
3
from Table I. These values are used for suffi-
ciently high RRR

so that the equations can be used for pure
aluminium as well as alloys. Values for the remaining coeffi-
cients are given in Table IV; these were obtained by carrying
out fits as in row 6 of Table II, except that P
1
and P
3
were
obtained using equations 10 and 11, with the parameters α
1
,
β
1
, α
3
and β
3
chosen to produce the best fits.
Single parameter fits can thus be carried out for aluminium
alloys in a similar manner to pure aluminium; the only dif-
ference is that the parameters P
1
and P
3
must be taken as
functions of β (Table II, rows 9 & 10). This extends the lower
limit of fits from Ref. [2] from approximately RRR = 10 to
RRR

< 1, with a smooth transition into the new range of
values.
Physically, the P
1
and P
3
terms describe the electron-
phonon interaction (Eq. 3) [24]. While P
1
and P
3
are both
required to vary, the P
3
term only appears in the equations as
the product P
1
P
3
, and the variation of this product is much
smaller than that of P
1
or P
3
alone. Therefore the correction
required to allow the equations for pure aluminium to rep-
resent aluminium alloys consists largely of simply multiply-
ing the strength of the electron-phonon interaction by a purity
4
Table III: Datasets for the thermal conductivity of aluminium alloys used in this paper.
Number Source Alloy Used?
a
RRR
∗b
1-K conductivity (Wm
−1
K
−1
)
c
1 [14] 7039 T61 yes 1.42 1.43
2 [15] 6063 T5 yes 8.70 8.77
3 [15] 3003 F yes 2.65 2.67
4
d
[15] 2024 T4, 5083 O, 5086 F yes 0.78 0.79
5 [15] 5052 O yes 1.12 1.13
6 [15] 5154 O yes 1.02 1.03
7 [15] 1100 F yes 13.74 13.85
8 [15] 1100 O yes 11.38 11.47
9 [15] single crystal no 88.86 89.95
10 [16] 4 S yes 1.32 1.33
11 [16] 75 S yes —- —-
12 [17] 2014 T6 yes —- —-
13 [17] J-51 yes 8.68 8.75
14 [17] 5456 H343 yes —- —-
15 [17] 3004 yes 1.31 1.32
16 [17] 24 S yes 0.88 0.89
17 [18] 5052 swaged no 1.24 1.25
18 [18] 5052 annealed no 1.3 1.31
19 [18] 2024 no 0.75 0.76
20 [17] 2219 T81 no 0.95 0.96
21 [17] Duralumin as stamped no 1.52 1.53
22 [17] Duralumin no 1.51 1.52
23 [19] 1050 no 18.9 19.1
24 [19] 6061 T6 no 2.29 2.31
25 [13] 6061 T6 no 2.5 2.52
a
Denotes whether this dataset was used to derive fitting parameters
(database 2 in Section III). Dataset 9 was not used since it represents pure
aluminium (it is used to ensure that the results of the fitting could be applied
successfully to pure aluminium as well as alloys). Datasets 17 to 25 did not
cover a sufficiently large temperature range.
b
This column gives the best fit values of RRR

(defined in equation 8);
rows with no entry correspond to datasets that could not be fitted.
c
This is the conductivity at 1 K predicted by fits to the data using the RRR

value given here, and not the measured value.
d
The measurements on these three alloys are almost identical, and they are
therefore represented by a single dataset
Table IV: Values of the coefficients in equations 10 and 11.
Coefficient Value
α1 2.958 ×10
−8
β1 0.129
α3 925.4
β3 −0.167
dependent factor. Note that the temperature variation of the
electron-phonon interaction is not altered at all from the pure
aluminium values.
These fits are illustrated in Fig. 2, where fits (Table II, row
9) to all measurements from database 2 are shown. In each
case, the fit is based on a single datapoint, with no attempt to
allow for noise. In all but two cases the lowest temperature
point was chosen. However, for two of the datasets in Fig. 2c,
where the fits do not agree well with the data, a higher tem-
perature point was chosen to improve the agreement between
fit and measured data.
Despite basing the fits on a single point, the fits agree with
the data to 11% or better (apart from the three datasets which
did not fit well) - this is only slightly worse than the agreement
when the parameters P
1
and P
3
were chosen individually for
5
a)
b)
Figure 1: The fitting parameters P1 and P3 determined from fits to
experimental data for aluminium alloys, as described in Section III.
The solid lines show fits to the data, as described in the text. The
circled points were excluded from these fits either because they cor-
responded to datasets for which the conductivity could not be fitted
well or because the value of RRR

was too high. Note that coinci-
dentally for aluminium the conductivity at 1 K in SI units has almost
exactly the same numerical value as the RRR

value.
each dataset and fitted using every point. It seems likely that
the three badly fitting datasets are due to experimental error.
However, the possibility that some alloys deviate from these
fits cannot be ruled out.
Fits were also carried out in the same manner to datasets
rejected earlier because they did not cover a sufficiently large
temperature range. The fits to all eight of these datasets (17-24
in Table III) also agreed with the data to 10% or better.
Repeating the fits shown in Fig 2 with the W
c
term omitted
(Table II, row 10) reduced the quality of fits, although fits to
whole datasets (as opposed to a single point) were generally
improved slightly.
Figure 3 shows fits to the datasets with RRR

≤ 4 which
include room temperature values. Here, the fits are based en-
a)
b)
c)
Figure 2: Single parameter fits to thermal conductivity measurements
on aluminium alloys, as described in section III. Note that there is
only one fitting parameter (RRR

), and that each fit is based entirely
on a single point in the corresponding data; this point is shown with
a ring around it in the graphs.
6
Figure 3: Single parameter fits to thermal conductivity measurements
as in Fig. 2, except that each fit is based on the highest tempera-
ture point in the corresponding dataset rather than a low temperature
point.
tirely on the highest temperature point. The worst agreement
between data and fit is 12.5%, with the other four datasets
agreeing to better than 10% for every point.
It should be noted that for the lower end of the range of
RRR

values, the lattice conductivity of aluminiumalloys can
become significant. While it is not easy to separate from the
electronic conductivity, it appears that it can approach 15% or
more of the total conductivity [15, 25]. Equation 1 does not
explicitly include a lattice term. Including such a term would
be difficult due to the lack of theoretical or experimental data
on lattice conductivity [25]. Fortunately, the fits produced are
sufficiently good that attempts to add a lattice term are unnec-
essary.
IV. USING ELECTRICAL RESISTIVITY
MEASUREMENTS
In the previous section it was shown that thermal conduc-
tivity measurements can be extrapolated accurately to other
temperatures. However, as described earlier, it is also possible
to predict the thermal conductivity from electrical resistivity
measurements, via the Wiedemann-Franz law(equation 6). At
low temperatures (approximately 4 K and below), equation 6
is found to work well for most metals, with the Lorenz num-
ber L
0
taking the theoretically predicted value of 2.45 ×10
−8
WΩK
−2
[1].
Evidence that this is a good approximation for aluminium
alloys is given in Refs [14], [15], [26] and [27]. Deviations of
L
0
fromthe theoretical value were 10%or less, apart fromtwo
samples in Ref. [15] with deviations of about 12%. (Values for
commercially pure alloys in Ref [27] show greater deviation
- these can be neglected since the thermal and electrical mea-
surements were made on different specimens from different
sources, and the conductivity of these alloys varies signifi-
cantly with exact purity and thermal history.) It is therefore
straightforward to convert low temperature (residual) resistiv-
ity measurements to a thermal conductivity value which can
then be used to predict the conductivity up to room tempera-
ture with reasonable accuracy. Some measurements from the
literature are shown in Table V.
Since accurate thermal conductivity measurements are not
straightforward to perform, and few results reported in the lit-
erature have been confirmed by measuring a standard refer-
ence material with the same equipment, the risk involved in
relying on this method is probably no worse than using any but
the most rigorous thermal conductivity measurements found
in the literature.
As the temperature is increased above 4 K, the Lorenz
number generally deviates from the theoretical value, return-
ing to an approximation to this value near room temperature.
For aluminium alloys, various contradictory expressions have
been given for the room temperature Lorenz number [28].
Since the dependence of resistivity on purity is much smaller
at roomtemperature than at low temperatures, this uncertainty
prevents a direct conversion from resistivity to thermal con-
ductivity from being accurate enough to usefully predict the
low temperature conductivity from the measured room tem-
perature resistivity.
However, there is an alternative approach. The room
temperature resistivity ρ
RT
can be approximated by Math-
hiessen’s Rule:
ρ
RT
ρ
i

0
, (12)
where ρ
i
is the intrinsic resistivity, due to electron-phonon
interactions, and ρ
0
is the residual resistivity, due to electron-
defect interactions. Therefore so long as deviations from
equation 12 and the variation of ρ
i
with alloy purity are both
sufficiently small, we can obtain ρ
0
by subtracting a value for
ρ
i
from the measured room temperature resistivity ρ.
Measurements on various aluminium alloys with a variety
of tempers [14, 27] suggest that the difference between room
temperature and residual resistivity can indeed be taken as a
constant; this is shown in Figure 4. The variation in resistiv-
ity difference between the different alloys is small, with no
evidence of systematic variation with resistivity. Taking the
mean value for the resistivity difference, we can obtain resid-
ual resistivity from the room temperature value as
ρ
0
ρ
RT
−ρ
i
ρ
RT
−2.64 ×10
−8
Ωm. (13)
This can then be converted to the low temperature ther-
mal conductivity using the Wiedemann-Franz law (equation
6), and the thermal conductivity extrapolated to higher tem-
peratures. For these measurements, “room temperature” was
273 K. The resistivity of pure aluminiumincreases by approx-
imately 0.011 × 10
−8
ΩmK
−1
with increasing temperature;
the alloy measurements in Ref. [14] are in good agreement.
Measurements of ρ
RT
should be corrected to the 273 K value
before using equation 13.
It should be noted that the value for ρ
i
is somewhat larger
than the resistivity of pure aluminium (for which the ρ
0
term
7
Figure 4: The difference between room temperature and residual
resistivity for various aluminium alloy measurements in the litera-
ture [14, 27].
Figure 5: Prediction for the room temperature Lorenz ratio for alu-
miniumalloys, as described in Section IV (thick line), compared with
results from the literature [28] (thin lines).
is negligible at room temperature). Therefore, although there
is no evidence of a variation of ρ
i
with purity over the range
shown in Figure 4, the value must change somewhere for
RRR

> 4. This is not surprising since modifying thermal
conductivity equations for pure aluminium to apply to alloys
required altering the strength of the electron-phonon interac-
tion.
It is therefore possible to take a single room temperature
resistivity measurement (available for most aluminium alloys,
and easily obtained otherwise) and derive an approximation
to the thermal conductivity from room temperature down to
the transition temperature. This method will fail for high
purity alloys, since ρ
0
becomes so small compared with ρ
i
that it cannot be measured. It should be valid for values of
RRR

< 4, which is also the range over which the measure-
ments in Figure 4 were taken. Most aluminiumalloys fall into
this range, with the commercially pure 1000 series alloys be-
ing the major alloys excluded.
We can now obtain a useful expression for RRR as a func-
tion of RRR

. Using equations 8 and 13, we find
RRR 1 + RRR

ρ
i
ρ
RTpure
, (14)
where, for low enough RRR

(RRR

< 4 or RRR < 5.34),
the value of ρ
i
can be taken from equation 13. This is con-
venient because RRR measurements are easier to make than
resistivity measurements, since the geometrical factor of the
sample does not have to be known.
It is also possible to use the methods described here to
predict a value for the room temperature Lorenz number of
aluminium alloys. This is done by taking a value for room
temperature resistivity, extrapolating to the low temperature
resistivity using Eq. 13, applying the Wiedemann-Franz law
(Eq. 6), and extrapolating the resulting thermal conductivity
to roomtemperature. The results are shown in Figure 5, where
the prediction is compared with various values derived from
measurements [28]. The predicted values fall within the range
of experimental results.
V. MAKING PREDICTIONS
This section describes how the fit equations presented in
previous sections can be usefully applied. Figure 6 shows the
predicted thermal conductivity as a function of temperature
for alloys of different purity. If the thermal conductivity of an
alloy is known at a single temperature, the values at other tem-
peratures can thus be extrapolated. As described in section IV,
electrical measurements can also be used by converting them
to thermal conductivity values using the Wiedemann-Franz
law (Eq. 6).
However, there is a limit to the ability to make extrapola-
tions from both thermal and electrical measurements. Fig-
ure 6 shows that the conductivity values converge with in-
creasing temperature, and thus the accuracy of predictions will
be highest for measurements made at low temperatures. This
is shown more clearly in Figure 7, where the conductivity at
77 K and 300 K is plotted as a function of the conductivity at
1 K. A wide range of conductivity values at 1 K correspond
to a very narrow range at 300 K. Figure 8 shows how the ex-
pected error in an extrapolated 1 K conductivity value varies
with the conductivity at higher temperatures. For aluminium
with a room temperature conductivity of approximately 210
Wm
−1
K
−1
(RRR

= 5.4), a 1% error in a measurement at
room temperature will cause a 10% error at 1 K. The size of
this error increases rapidly with an increase in room temper-
ature conductivity above 210 Wm
−1
K
−1
. However, as men-
tioned above, there are few aluminium alloys with such high
values for the thermal conductivity.
Figure 9 shows a possible procedure for determining the
thermal conductivity of a given aluminium alloy between the
superconducting transition temperature and room tempera-
ture, depending on what information is available. It should
8
a)
b)
Figure 6: Predicted thermal conductivity values for aluminium alloys
of different purity. These results can be used to extrapolate measure-
ments made at one temperature on a given alloy to other tempera-
tures. Fig. b) is a projection of Fig. a) into two dimensions. The
solid lines in b) correspond to RRR

values (Eq. 8) of 0.4, 0.7, 1.2,
2, 4, 8, 15 and 35; the conductivity increases with increasing RRR

.
Note that in a) the conductivity is given using a linear scale, while
a logarithmic scale is used in b). These values apply to aluminium
in the non-superconducting (normal) state; the superconducting tran-
sition temperature is above 1 K for some alloys (Section II). The
graphs were produced using fits as described in Table II, row 9.
be noted that if no useful measurements are available for a
particular alloy type, room temperature electrical resistivity
measurements can be made quite easily. However, if even
that is not practical, it is possible to predict room temperature
properties based on the composition of an alloy [28].
Fig. 9 refers only to measurements at low temperatures and
room temperature; thermal (but not electrical) measurements
at other temperatures, for example 77 K, may also be used.
Again, the usefulness of a measurement depends on the alloy
purity, but - as shown in Figs 7 and 8 - measurements at 77 K
are useful for a wider range of purities than those made at
Figure 7: Conductivity of aluminium alloys at 77 and 300 K as a
function of the 1 K value, using the predicted values shown in Fig. 6
Figure 8: Percentage error in the extrapolated conductivity at 1 K for
a 1% error in measured conductivity at 77 K and 300 K, using the
predicted values shown in Fig. 6
300 K.
There are, however, some potential problems. Firstly,
room temperature conductivity values generally quoted for
aluminium alloys may have significant errors. Making accu-
rate thermal conductivity measurements near room tempera-
ture is difficult due to thermal radiation, and errors (especially
systematic) are often underestimated. Moreover, the measure-
ments quoted may not even have been intended to be of suffi-
cient accuracy to be used in this manner; an error of 5 or 10%
is acceptable in most applications. Therefore extrapolations
from room temperature thermal conductivity measurements
should be treated with extreme caution unless the details of
the measurement are known (and preferably confirmed by
measuring a standard reference material) and plausible errors
quoted. Indeed, extrapolating manufacturer’s quoted thermal
conductivity values for the various alloys described here pro-
9
using Equation 13
thermal
conductivity
known?
room
temperature
Is
accuracy, convert
to low temperature
conductivity using
Figure 7
For improved
Make measurements,
use calculated room
temperature conductivity
(Ref 28) or give up.
Is
(residual)
low temp.
low temp.
conductivity
known?
(< 20K) thermal
Is
known?
room
temperature
Is
resistivity
electrical
known?
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
N
N
N
N
N
N
Y
> 0.031 m?
Convert to
residual resistivity
conductivity using
Convert to thermal
Wiedemann−Franz
Is
conductivity
< 210 W/m/K?
thermal
Extrapolate
conductivity from
START
STOP
STOP
law (Equation 6)
Figure 6
µΩ
Is
resistivity
resistivity
Figure 9: Procedure for predicting the thermal conductivity of an
aluminium alloy depending on what information is available. More
detail is given in Section V.
duces errors in the low temperature conductivity varying from
approximately 4% to 50%. Using room temperature electri-
cal resistivity measurements may provide a better prediction,
since it is much easier to measure the resistance of an alu-
minium alloy sample at roomtemperature accurately than it is
to measure the thermal conductivity.
The second problem is that there may be significant varia-
tion between samples of a given alloy and temper. For a given
alloy type, a range in concentration of various impurities is
usually allowed [30]. Variation within these ranges may cause
considerable differences in thermal conductivity. Differences
in tempering procedures may also cause significant variation,
while still remaining within the specifications for the process.
It is recognized that even at room temperature, different man-
Table V: Some residual resistivity measurements from the literature
for aluminium alloys.
Alloy ρ0 RRR

1-K conductivity
a
Source
(µΩm) (Wm
−1
K
−1
)
1100 O 8.20E-04 29.63 29.88 [27]
2014 T651 0.01531 1.59 1.60 [27]
2024 O 0.00583 4.17 4.20 [27]
2024 T4 0.01742 1.39 1.40 [27]
2024 T6 0.01337 1.82 1.83 [27]
2024 T86 0.01578 1.54 1.55 [27]
5083 H113 0.0305 0.80 0.81 [27]
5083 H113 0.0307 0.79 0.80 [27]
5083 O 0.0303 0.80 0.81 [27]
6061 T6 0.01381 1.76 1.77 [27]
6061 T6 0.009 2.7 2.72 [26]
6082 T6 — 2.70
b
2.72 [29]
7039 O 0.0212 1.15 1.16 [27]
7039 T61 0.01738 1.40 1.41 [27]
7039 T61 0.01734 1.40 1.41 [14]
7075 T6 0.0276 0.88 0.89 [27]
7075 T73 0.01092 2.23 2.25 [27]
a
This is the conductivity at 1 K calculated from the value of RRR

shown
using the Wiedemann-Franz law (equation 6).
b
Calculated from measured value of RRR using Eq. 14
ufacturers quote different values for the resistivity of the same
alloy type [28]. Another factor is that most thermal conduc-
tivity measurements were made several decades ago; changes
in production methods may cause modern alloys to have dif-
ferent properties. Some large differences are apparent in the
data presented here: values for 2024 T4 disagree by over 50%
at 1 K, and values for 6061 T6 by over 30%. While such
discrepancies may not be typical, and may to some extent be
due to experimental error, errors due to sample variation may
dominate the errors in the prediction methods described here.
Sample variation also affects the use of measured conduc-
tivity values from the literature. Another use for the equations
presented here would be to predict the expected variation at
low temperatures given a knowledge of the variation in room
temperature properties, or to predict the thermal conductivity
of each lot of material used in a particular system based on a
simple electrical resistivity measurement.
Figure 10 shows recommended values for various alloys,
based on low temperature thermal and electrical measure-
ments from Tables III and V. For clarity, alloys with sim-
ilar values have been grouped together. It should be noted
that even at room temperature, samples of the same alloy but
different tempers can have significantly different conductiv-
ity. This can be seen in Fig 10; good examples are aluminium
2024 O, T4 and T6. When using literature results it is there-
fore important to ensure that the temper is stated as well as the
alloy type. Many measurements were excluded from Fig. 10
10
6063 (T5)
2024 (O)
3003 (F),
1000 series − lower limit
6061 (T6), 7075 (T73)
2024 (T6)
2014 (T651), 2024 (T86)
7039 (T61)
5154 (O)
6082 (T6)
5083 (H113), 5083 (O), 5086 (F)
2219 (T81), 7075 (T6)
2024 (T4), 5052 (O), 7039 (O)
Figure 10: Recommended values for the thermal conductivity of var-
ious aluminium alloys, using the prediction method described in this
paper on measurements from the literature listed in Tables III and
V. For each alloy, the first four figures (e.g. 6061) indicate the al-
loy composition; the remainder (e.g. T6) indicates the temper. Note
that for alloys 2024 (T4) and 6061 (T6), significantly different val-
ues are reported from different measurements; the mid-points of the
ranges of values are shown here. An error bar shows the range of
values obtained for 6061 T6. For clarity, similar values have been
grouped together - the worst error resulting from this grouping is un-
der 4%. For more accurate results, the RRR

values quoted in this
paper should be used to generate conductivity values using the equa-
tions in this paper or Fig. 6. The line styles alternate between solid
and dashed curves to aid the eye. These results apply to aluminium
in the non-superconducting (normal) state; the superconducting tran-
sition temperature is above 1 K for some alloys (Section II).
because the temper was not given.
VI. CONCLUSIONS
I have shown that it is possible to usefully predict the ther-
mal conductivity of an aluminium alloy at temperatures be-
tween the superconducting transition temperature and room
temperature, from a measurement at a single temperature.
The predictions are based on a set of semi-empirical equa-
tions for the thermal conductivity of pure aluminium [2].
They have been modified by altering the term describing the
strength of the electron-phonon interaction from a constant to
a function of the alloy purity. The modification was deter-
mined by examining various thermal conductivity measure-
ments in the literature, and extends the lower limit of validity
from approximately RRR = 10 to RRR < 2.
Extrapolating the thermal conductivity from low temper-
ature measurements generally produces results which agree
with true measured values by 10% or better. It is also possi-
ble to make extrapolations with a similar accuracy from room
temperature measurements. However, this is only possible
if the room temperature measurements are made with suffi-
ciently good accuracy; this is not practical to achieve for the
purest aluminium alloys but is otherwise possible.
Low temperature electrical resistivity measurements can
also be used by applying the Wiedemann-Franz law to obtain
the thermal conductivity, and then extrapolating to other tem-
peratures. The Wiedemann-Franz law is not known with suffi-
cient accuracy to be applied directly to roomtemperature elec-
trical resistivity measurements, but can be applied indirectly
by calculating the low temperature (residual) resistivity from
the room temperature value and applying the Wiedemann-
Franz law at low temperatures. This is possible because the
difference between residual and room temperature resistivity
is approximately constant for most (aluminium) alloys.
These equations allow aluminium alloys to be used in sit-
uations where the thermal conductivity is important, even if
they are not one of the relatively few materials for which the
conductivity has been measured down to low temperatures.
Another important application is the ability to predict thermal
conductivity from a single low temperature electrical resistiv-
ity value. This can be accurately measured much more easily
than thermal conductivity. It is even practical to make such
a measurement on a sample from each lot of aluminium al-
loy used in a cryogenic system, giving thermal conductivity
values which are not affected by sample to sample variations.
The equations can also be used as a check on the plausibil-
ity of thermal conductivity measurements, either obtained di-
rectly or found in the literature.
Acknowledgments
I would like to thank Dr. J. E. Bowey for many useful sug-
gestions which have improved this paper.
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[7] Linz RJ, Chu TK, Bouley AC, et al. Dislocation thermal resis-
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[8] Coccia E, Niinikoski TO. Thermal and superconducting prop-
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−8
WΩK
−2
.
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43 × 10−8 Ωm [3]. β can be taken to be inversely proportional to RRR to a very good approximation. 29 datasets were found which met this criterion. Returning to Eq. L0 (5) by applying the Wiedemann-Franz law [1] κ= L0 T .45 × 10−8 WΩK−2 ). defined by RRR∗ = ρRT _pure . 5]. 21] were consulted in addition to original papers. 20. These datasets covered a range of RRR∗ from 0. However.16 130. The superconducting transition temperature (Tc ) of aluminium alloys depends strongly on the extent to which each impurity is in solid solution [4. the parameters P1 to P7 can be determined for a given metal by least squares fitting to measurements. Several compilations [16. The Wc term is a function of temperature chosen empirically to improve the accuracy of the fits. The database was restricted to sets of data which covered a temperature range extending below 30 K and above 100 K. The parameters determined for pure aluminium [2] are given in Table I. [2] (RRR 10 and above).8168 A literature search was carried out to obtain a database of thermal conductivity measurements for commercially available aluminium alloys.8.5 0.0013 ln exp − 110 0. Different attempts at using Eq. Wi + W 0 P5 T P6 −1 (3) Wi0 = P7 (4) where T is temperature. the highest value for other alloy types is approximately 1 K.4 K. This is not true for alloys. RRR∗ is thus inversely proportional to β. the temper (cold working and/or heat treatment) of the samples was noted. and is thus related to β by RRR = ρRT L0 1 . and can be written as a function of the residual resistivity ρ0 (the constant value of resistivity in the limit of zero temperature): β= ρ0 . as is found in commercial alloys. these are referred to below as database 1.446 623.6 -0. ρ0 (8) These results were obtained by carrying out fits to data from the literature for relatively large.0005 ln 330 0. 1. ρ (6) where ρ is resistivity and L0 is the Lorenz number (2. it just alters the scaling of the quoted values for RRR∗ . since conductivity can vary significantly with temper. 17. 1 to fit the measurements are shown in Table II. Since the variation of ρRT with purity is very small for pure aluminium. being accurate to ±20%. III. FITTING Table I: Fit parameters [2] for the thermal conductivity of pure aluminium using equations 3 and 4.9 2. The small number of reported measurements [6–13] on commercial alloys give values of Tc varying from below 400 mK to 1.6   2 T ln 94 T  (9) −0. β (7) where ρRT is the room temperature resistivity. The parameter β varies with the purity of the metal. Metal conductivity is often characterised by the residual resistance ratio (RRR). In total. this is the ratio of room temperature to residual resistance. Where possible. No particular pattern is evident other than that the highest values appear to correspond to aluminium-silicon and aluminium-lithium alloys.5 where ρRT _pure is a value for the room temperature resistivity of pure aluminium. and thus included the conductivity peak.2 Wi = P 1 T P2 × 1 + P1 P3 T (P2 +P4 ) exp − +Wc and Wi W0 . well annealed specimens. In general. Predicting Tc for a commercial alloy is difficult since there has been little work on the effect of the presence of many different impurities. These equations do not apply to aluminium in the superconducting state. it was found that these values also produced good fits to data for unannealed specimens.8 to 13. overlapping with the range in Ref. attempts at fits were either . Note that the choice of the value for ρRT _pure does not affect the results quoted here. The fits are applicable to samples with residual resistivity values from RRR=10 to RRR=10 000. Fits using these parameters were then compared with experimental data for high purity samples to obtain an expression for Wc :   2 T ln 380 T  exp − Wc = −0.716 × 10−8 2. and for convenience results are expressed here in terms of equivalent residual resistivity RRR∗ . In addition. the amount of each impurity in solid solution is usually not well known. Parameter P1 P2 P3 P4 P5 P6 P7 Value 4. taken here as 2.

P3_pure (11) where P1_pure and P3_pure are the pure aluminium values for P1 and P3 from Table I. The five unsuccessful fits all corresponded to data obtained by one particular group [22. Physically. P4 to P7 (Table I) — — P2 . This extends the lower limit of fits from Ref. Since equation 1 is not very sensitive to the values of P1 and P3 . This is shown in Figure 1. β1 . these are listed in Table III along with further datasets not used at this stage of the analysis. plotting P1 and P3 as a function of RRR∗ (equivalent to β) shows a systematic dependence. Therefore the correction required to allow the equations for pure aluminium to represent aluminium alloys consists largely of simply multiplying the strength of the electron-phonon interaction by a purity . P3 β. However. these were obtained by carrying out fits as in row 6 of Table II. the exact form of the fits is not important. with the parameters α1 . Table IV) 10 P2 . Furthermore. with a choice of the pure aluminium parameters being as good as allowing them to take other values. P1_pure (10) . P4 to P7 P2 . It was not possible to find any values of the parameters P1 to P7 which allowed good fits to be obtained by varying only β with each dataset (rows 4 & 5). good fits did result for most datasets if only β. P1 . P1 to P7 β. and it seems plausible that the measurements suffer from significant experimental error. While P1 and P3 are both required to vary.P3 (Eq. the P3 term only appears in the equations as the product P1 P3 . 10 & 11. Therefore all measurements from this group were rejected from further consideration leaving 15 datasets remaining (database 2). α3 and β3 chosen to produce the best fits. A full description of their experimental configuration was not given. with a smooth transition into the new range of values. P3 β. 3) [24]. Values for the remaining coefficients are given in Table IV.3 Table II: The different fits carried out Row Fixed parameters (and values) Global fit parametersa Individual fit parametersb Wc c Database Successd P1 to P7 (Table I) — — — — P2 . Single parameter fits can thus be carried out for aluminium alloys in a similar manner to pure aluminium. Power-laws were chosen since they were the simplest functions which pro- duced acceptable fits. P4 to P7 — — β β. the P1 and P3 terms describe the electronphonon interaction (Eq. successful or complete failures. along with fits to the data. 10 & 11. Table IV) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 — — — P1 to P7 P1 to P7 — P2 . The equations used for P1 and P3 are P1 (RRR∗ ) = min α1 (RRR∗ ) and P3 (RRR∗ ) = max α3 (RRR∗ ) β3 β1 . rows 9 & 10). except that P1 and P3 were obtained using equations 10 and 11. but with the same value used for each dataset b These parameters were fitted separately for each dataset c Denotes whether the W term (equation 9) was included in equation 3 c d A successful fit is defined as one where no point deviated from the fit by more than 10%. P3 (Eq. and it was thus obvious which methods of fitting were appropriate. the only difference is that the parameters P1 and P3 must be taken as functions of β (Table II. Fits using parameters for pure aluminium were not successful (Table II. [2] from approximately RRR = 10 to RRR∗ < 1. The remaining parameters were fixed. The same 12 datasets were successful for rows 6 to 10 e Database 2 consists of database 1 with all data from references [22] and [23] removed f No significant change from row 6 g Quality of fits slightly better than for row 9. allowing all parameters to vary separately for each dataset produced good fits to most of the measurements (row 2). However. P1 . row 1). and the variation of this product is much smaller than that of P1 or P3 alone. P4 to P7 (Table I) P1 . P1 to P7 β β β. P4 to P7 (Table I) P1 . P1 and P3 were allowed to vary for each dataset (rows 6-8). These values are used for sufficiently high RRR∗ so that the equations can be used for pure aluminium as well as alloys. P1 . It is therefore possible to make a three parameter fit to each dataset. P3 β β Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No Yes No 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 Poor 24/29 15/15e Poor Poor 12/15 12/15f 12/15f 12/15 12/15g a These parameters were allowed to vary. 23].

2c.5 1.25 1.4 −0. In each case.31 0.this is only slightly worse than the agreement when the parameters P1 and P3 were chosen individually for dependent factor. Datasets 17 to 25 did not cover a sufficiently large temperature range.88 1. Dataset 9 was not used since it represents pure aluminium (it is used to ensure that the results of the fitting could be applied successfully to pure aluminium as well as alloys).129 925.70 2.02 13.52 1.85 11.79 1. where the fits do not agree well with the data.53 1. the fit is based on a single datapoint. Number Source 1 2 3 4d 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 Alloy Used?a RRR∗b 1-K conductivity (Wm−1 K−1 )c yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes no yes yes yes yes yes yes yes no no no no no no no no no 1.76 0.32 0.95 1.43 8.67 0.74 11.52 19. and they are therefore represented by a single dataset Table IV: Values of the coefficients in equations 10 and 11.75 —1. a higher temperature point was chosen to improve the agreement between fit and measured data. Coefficient α1 β1 α3 β3 Value 2. rows with no entry correspond to datasets that could not be fitted. These fits are illustrated in Fig.38 88. with no attempt to allow for noise.96 1.75 0. In all but two cases the lowest temperature point was chosen. and not the measured value.33 ——8. c This is the conductivity at 1 K predicted by fits to the data using the RRR∗ value given here.32 ——8.13 1.12 1.4 Table III: Datasets for the thermal conductivity of aluminium alloys used in this paper. row 9) to all measurements from database 2 are shown.24 1.95 1. for two of the datasets in Fig. d The measurements on these three alloys are almost identical.78 1. 2. Note that the temperature variation of the electron-phonon interaction is not altered at all from the pure .1 2.47 89.52 [14] 7039 T61 [15] 6063 T5 [15] 3003 F [15] 2024 T4.167 aluminium values. the fits agree with the data to 11% or better (apart from the three datasets which did not fit well) . 5086 F [15] 5052 O [15] 5154 O [15] 1100 F [15] 1100 O [15] single crystal [16] 4S [16] 75 S [17] 2014 T6 [17] J-51 [17] 5456 H343 [17] 3004 [17] 24 S [18] 5052 swaged [18] 5052 annealed [18] 2024 [17] 2219 T81 [17] Duralumin as stamped [17] Duralumin [19] 1050 [19] 6061 T6 [13] 6061 T6 a Denotes whether this dataset was used to derive fitting parameters (database 2 in Section III).42 8.9 2.31 2.86 1.29 2.77 2.958 × 10−8 0. 5083 O. where fits (Table II.89 1.3 0.31 0. However.68 —1.03 13. b This column gives the best fit values of RRR∗ (defined in equation 8).65 0. Despite basing the fits on a single point.51 18.

The solid lines show fits to the data. c) each dataset and fitted using every point. the fits are based en- Figure 2: Single parameter fits to thermal conductivity measurements on aluminium alloys. Figure 3 shows fits to the datasets with RRR∗ ≤ 4 which include room temperature values. Repeating the fits shown in Fig 2 with the Wc term omitted (Table II. However. Here. as described in section III. as described in the text. as described in Section III.5 a) a) b) b) Figure 1: The fitting parameters P1 and P3 determined from fits to experimental data for aluminium alloys. Note that there is only one fitting parameter (RRR∗ ). It seems likely that the three badly fitting datasets are due to experimental error. . row 10) reduced the quality of fits. the possibility that some alloys deviate from these fits cannot be ruled out. this point is shown with a ring around it in the graphs. Fits were also carried out in the same manner to datasets rejected earlier because they did not cover a sufficiently large temperature range. although fits to whole datasets (as opposed to a single point) were generally improved slightly. and that each fit is based entirely on a single point in the corresponding data. Note that coincidentally for aluminium the conductivity at 1 K in SI units has almost exactly the same numerical value as the RRR∗ value. The fits to all eight of these datasets (17-24 in Table III) also agreed with the data to 10% or better. The circled points were excluded from these fits either because they corresponded to datasets for which the conductivity could not be fitted well or because the value of RRR∗ was too high.

The worst agreement between data and fit is 12. USING ELECTRICAL RESISTIVITY MEASUREMENTS In the previous section it was shown that thermal conductivity measurements can be extrapolated accurately to other temperatures. Equation 1 does not explicitly include a lattice term. Since accurate thermal conductivity measurements are not straightforward to perform. (Values for commercially pure alloys in Ref [27] show greater deviation .45 × 10−8 WΩK−2 [1]. However. this uncertainty prevents a direct conversion from resistivity to thermal conductivity from being accurate enough to usefully predict the low temperature conductivity from the measured room temperature resistivity. and the thermal conductivity extrapolated to higher temperatures. with the other four datasets agreeing to better than 10% for every point. the alloy measurements in Ref. and few results reported in the literature have been confirmed by measuring a standard reference material with the same equipment. (12) Figure 3: Single parameter fits to thermal conductivity measurements as in Fig. [15]. and ρ0 is the residual resistivity. Measurements on various aluminium alloys with a variety of tempers [14. via the Wiedemann-Franz law (equation 6). (13) This can then be converted to the low temperature thermal conductivity using the Wiedemann-Franz law (equation 6). 27] suggest that the difference between room temperature and residual resistivity can indeed be taken as a constant. we can obtain residual resistivity from the room temperature value as ρ0 ρRT − ρi ρRT − 2. Some measurements from the literature are shown in Table V. Including such a term would be difficult due to the lack of theoretical or experimental data on lattice conductivity [25].6 cantly with exact purity and thermal history. with the Lorenz number L0 taking the theoretically predicted value of 2. Therefore so long as deviations from equation 12 and the variation of ρi with alloy purity are both sufficiently small. For aluminium alloys. the risk involved in relying on this method is probably no worse than using any but the most rigorous thermal conductivity measurements found in the literature. various contradictory expressions have been given for the room temperature Lorenz number [28]. [26] and [27]. However. “room temperature” was 273 K.5%. IV. we can obtain ρ0 by subtracting a value for ρi from the measured room temperature resistivity ρ. equation 6 is found to work well for most metals. While it is not easy to separate from the electronic conductivity. Taking the mean value for the resistivity difference. due to electrondefect interactions. this is shown in Figure 4. the lattice conductivity of aluminium alloys can become significant. returning to an approximation to this value near room temperature. The resistivity of pure aluminium increases by approximately 0. The variation in resistivity difference between the different alloys is small. At low temperatures (approximately 4 K and below).) It is therefore straightforward to convert low temperature (residual) resistivity measurements to a thermal conductivity value which can then be used to predict the conductivity up to room temperature with reasonable accuracy. For these measurements.these can be neglected since the thermal and electrical measurements were made on different specimens from different sources. the Lorenz number generally deviates from the theoretical value. tirely on the highest temperature point. it is also possible to predict the thermal conductivity from electrical resistivity measurements. the fits produced are sufficiently good that attempts to add a lattice term are unnecessary. Evidence that this is a good approximation for aluminium alloys is given in Refs [14]. Measurements of ρRT should be corrected to the 273 K value before using equation 13. 2. As the temperature is increased above 4 K. with no evidence of systematic variation with resistivity.011 × 10−8 ΩmK−1 with increasing temperature. it appears that it can approach 15% or more of the total conductivity [15. [14] are in good agreement. The room temperature resistivity ρRT can be approximated by Mathhiessen’s Rule: ρRT ρi + ρ0 . It should be noted that the value for ρi is somewhat larger than the resistivity of pure aluminium (for which the ρ0 term . and the conductivity of these alloys varies signifi- where ρi is the intrinsic resistivity. Deviations of L0 from the theoretical value were 10% or less. there is an alternative approach. except that each fit is based on the highest temperature point in the corresponding dataset rather than a low temperature point. Since the dependence of resistivity on purity is much smaller at room temperature than at low temperatures. [15] with deviations of about 12%. 25]. apart from two samples in Ref.64 × 10−8 Ωm. It should be noted that for the lower end of the range of RRR∗ values. as described earlier. Fortunately. due to electron-phonon interactions.

and easily obtained otherwise) and derive an approximation to the thermal conductivity from room temperature down to the transition temperature. a 1% error in a measurement at room temperature will cause a 10% error at 1 K. compared with results from the literature [28] (thin lines). where the prediction is compared with various values derived from measurements [28]. For aluminium with a room temperature conductivity of approximately 210 Wm−1 K−1 (RRR∗ = 5. Using equations 8 and 13. However. and thus the accuracy of predictions will be highest for measurements made at low temperatures. extrapolating to the low temperature resistivity using Eq. there is a limit to the ability to make extrapolations from both thermal and electrical measurements. The size of this error increases rapidly with an increase in room temperature conductivity above 210 Wm−1 K−1 . Figure 9 shows a possible procedure for determining the thermal conductivity of a given aluminium alloy between the superconducting transition temperature and room temperature. The predicted values fall within the range of experimental results. 6).7 ments in Figure 4 were taken. A wide range of conductivity values at 1 K correspond to a very narrow range at 300 K. This method will fail for high purity alloys. where. 13. Most aluminium alloys fall into this range. with the commercially pure 1000 series alloys being the major alloys excluded. for low enough RRR∗ (RRR∗ < 4 or RRR < 5. This is not surprising since modifying thermal conductivity equations for pure aluminium to apply to alloys required altering the strength of the electron-phonon interaction. the values at other temperatures can thus be extrapolated. Figure 8 shows how the expected error in an extrapolated 1 K conductivity value varies with the conductivity at higher temperatures. V. The results are shown in Figure 5. applying the Wiedemann-Franz law (Eq. As described in section IV. Figure 6 shows that the conductivity values converge with increasing temperature. If the thermal conductivity of an alloy is known at a single temperature. 27]. It should be valid for values of RRR∗ < 4. as mentioned above. the value of ρi can be taken from equation 13. We can now obtain a useful expression for RRR as a function of RRR∗ . we find RRR 1 + RRR∗ ρi . 6). This is convenient because RRR measurements are easier to make than resistivity measurements. It should . MAKING PREDICTIONS Figure 5: Prediction for the room temperature Lorenz ratio for aluminium alloys. is negligible at room temperature).34). electrical measurements can also be used by converting them to thermal conductivity values using the Wiedemann-Franz law (Eq. where the conductivity at 77 K and 300 K is plotted as a function of the conductivity at 1 K. the value must change somewhere for RRR∗ > 4. there are few aluminium alloys with such high values for the thermal conductivity. which is also the range over which the measure- This section describes how the fit equations presented in previous sections can be usefully applied.4). as described in Section IV (thick line). depending on what information is available. It is also possible to use the methods described here to predict a value for the room temperature Lorenz number of aluminium alloys. since the geometrical factor of the sample does not have to be known. and extrapolating the resulting thermal conductivity to room temperature. Figure 6 shows the predicted thermal conductivity as a function of temperature for alloys of different purity. Therefore. This is done by taking a value for room temperature resistivity. It is therefore possible to take a single room temperature resistivity measurement (available for most aluminium alloys. However. ρRTpure (14) Figure 4: The difference between room temperature and residual resistivity for various aluminium alloy measurements in the literature [14. since ρ0 becomes so small compared with ρi that it cannot be measured. although there is no evidence of a variation of ρi with purity over the range shown in Figure 4. This is shown more clearly in Figure 7.

However. 15 and 35. There are. for example 77 K.2.4. thermal (but not electrical) measurements at other temperatures. some potential problems.7. Therefore extrapolations from room temperature thermal conductivity measurements should be treated with extreme caution unless the details of the measurement are known (and preferably confirmed by measuring a standard reference material) and plausible errors quoted. Again. Firstly. the superconducting transition temperature is above 1 K for some alloys (Section II). Fig. Note that in a) the conductivity is given using a linear scale.8 a) b) Figure 7: Conductivity of aluminium alloys at 77 and 300 K as a function of the 1 K value. 4. 9 refers only to measurements at low temperatures and room temperature. the usefulness of a measurement depends on the alloy purity. but . 1. it is possible to predict room temperature properties based on the composition of an alloy [28]. 8. extrapolating manufacturer’s quoted thermal conductivity values for the various alloys described here pro- . using the predicted values shown in Fig. and errors (especially systematic) are often underestimated. The graphs were produced using fits as described in Table II. an error of 5 or 10% is acceptable in most applications. 6 Figure 6: Predicted thermal conductivity values for aluminium alloys of different purity. the conductivity increases with increasing RRR∗ . 6 be noted that if no useful measurements are available for a particular alloy type. The solid lines in b) correspond to RRR∗ values (Eq. Figure 8: Percentage error in the extrapolated conductivity at 1 K for a 1% error in measured conductivity at 77 K and 300 K. room temperature electrical resistivity measurements can be made quite easily. Fig. These results can be used to extrapolate measurements made at one temperature on a given alloy to other temperatures. using the predicted values shown in Fig. may also be used. row 9. however. Making accurate thermal conductivity measurements near room temperature is difficult due to thermal radiation. if even that is not practical.as shown in Figs 7 and 8 . 8) of 0. room temperature conductivity values generally quoted for aluminium alloys may have significant errors. 0. 2. Indeed. These values apply to aluminium in the non-superconducting (normal) state.measurements at 77 K are useful for a wider range of purities than those made at 300 K. b) is a projection of Fig. the measurements quoted may not even have been intended to be of sufficient accuracy to be used in this manner. a) into two dimensions. while a logarithmic scale is used in b). Moreover.

The second problem is that there may be significant variation between samples of a given alloy and temper.80 0.15 1.83 1.40 1. This can be seen in Fig 10. Sample variation also affects the use of measured conductivity values from the literature. alloys with similar values have been grouped together.77 2.01337 0. or to predict the thermal conductivity of each lot of material used in a particular system based on a simple electrical resistivity measurement.16 1. Some large differences are apparent in the data presented here: values for 2024 T4 disagree by over 50% at 1 K. For clarity.41 1.23 29.81 0.60 4.01092 29. changes in production methods may cause modern alloys to have different properties. Another factor is that most thermal conductivity measurements were made several decades ago. samples of the same alloy but different tempers can have significantly different conductivity. When using literature results it is therefore important to ensure that the temper is stated as well as the alloy type.25 [27] [27] [27] [27] [27] [27] [27] [27] [27] [27] [26] [29] [27] [27] [14] [27] [27] Is low temp.0307 0. Figure 10 shows recommended values for various alloys.40 0. Using room temperature electrical resistivity measurements may provide a better prediction. use calculated room temperature conductivity (Ref 28) or give up.01738 0.40 1. Y (< 20K) thermal conductivity known? N Is low temp.01381 0.01578 0.41 0.0303 0.01742 0. and may to some extent be due to experimental error.72 2.0276 0. based on low temperature thermal and electrical measurements from Tables III and V. while still remaining within the specifications for the process.72 1.39 1.9 START Table V: Some residual resistivity measurements from the literature for aluminium alloys.01531 0.0212 0. Another use for the equations presented here would be to predict the expected variation at low temperatures given a knowledge of the variation in room temperature properties. Differences in tempering procedures may also cause significant variation. While such discrepancies may not be typical. For a given alloy type. good examples are aluminium 2024 O.55 0. Variation within these ranges may cause considerable differences in thermal conductivity. duces errors in the low temperature conductivity varying from approximately 4% to 50%.89 2. It is recognized that even at room temperature.70b 1.01734 0.59 4.54 0. It should be noted that even at room temperature. errors due to sample variation may dominate the errors in the prediction methods described here. b Calculated from measured value of RRR using Eq.80 1.76 2.20 1. T4 and T6.82 1. since it is much easier to measure the resistance of an aluminium alloy sample at room temperature accurately than it is to measure the thermal conductivity.63 1.88 2.0305 0.031 µΩ m? Y Is room temperature electrical resistivity known? N Make measurements. More detail is given in Section V. (residual) resistivity known? N Extrapolate thermal conductivity from Figure 6 STOP Convert to thermal conductivity using Wiedemann−Franz law (Equation 6) Y For improved accuracy.20E-04 0.79 0.80 0.88 1.009 — 0. 14 N Figure 9: Procedure for predicting the thermal conductivity of an aluminium alloy depending on what information is available. STOP a This is the conductivity at 1 K calculated from the value of RRR ∗ shown using the Wiedemann-Franz law (equation 6). different man- ufacturers quote different values for the resistivity of the same alloy type [28]. a range in concentration of various impurities is usually allowed [30]. Alloy ρ0 RRR∗ 1-K conductivitya Source (µΩm) (Wm−1 K−1 ) 8. 10 .00583 0.81 1. convert to low temperature conductivity using Figure 7 Y Convert to residual resistivity using Equation 13 Is room temperature thermal conductivity known? N Y Is conductivity < 210 W/m/K? N 1100 O 2014 T651 2024 O 2024 T4 2024 T6 2024 T86 5083 H113 5083 H113 5083 O 6061 T6 6061 T6 6082 T6 7039 O 7039 T61 7039 T61 7075 T6 7075 T73 Y Is resistivity > 0.17 1.7 2. and values for 6061 T6 by over 30%. Many measurements were excluded from Fig.

this is not practical to achieve for the purest aluminium alloys but is otherwise possible. Bouley AC. Springer. . Sov. Boulder. These equations allow aluminium alloys to be used in situations where the thermal conductivity is important.the worst error resulting from this grouping is under 4%. Bowey for many useful suggestions which have improved this paper. the RRR∗ values quoted in this paper should be used to generate conductivity values using the equations in this paper or Fig. and extends the lower limit of validity from approximately RRR = 10 to RRR < 2. Springer-Verlag. The Wiedemann-Franz law is not known with sufficient accuracy to be applied directly to room temperature electrical resistivity measurements.16:626. 1962. [1] Pobell F. They have been modified by altering the term describing the Acknowledgments I would like to thank Dr. 12. giving thermal conductivity values which are not affected by sample to sample variations.g. Pure metal resistivities at T = 273. using the prediction method described in this paper on measurements from the literature listed in Tables III and V. The modification was determined by examining various thermal conductivity measurements in the literature. Volume 15. Low temperature electrical resistivity measurements can also be used by applying the Wiedemann-Franz law to obtain the thermal conductivity. These results apply to aluminium in the non-superconducting (normal) state. National Bureau of Standards. 1000 series − lower limit 6063 (T5) 2024 (O) 3003 (F). J. However. the superconducting transition temperature is above 1 K for some alloys (Section II). The critical temperature of superconducting alloys. from a measurement at a single temperature. Matter and Methods at Low Temperatures. because the temper was not given. this is only possible if the room temperature measurements are made with sufficiently good accuracy. It is even practical to make such a measurement on a sample from each lot of aluminium alloy used in a cryogenic system. This is possible because the difference between residual and room temperature resistivity is approximately constant for most (aluminium) alloys. Phys. T6) indicates the temper. Acta Metall. Lankford AB. Heidelberg. even if they are not one of the relatively few materials for which the conductivity has been measured down to low temperatures. Dislocation thermal resistivity in concentrated alloys.Group III Condensed Matter. Quinn DJ. 6061) indicate the alloy composition.2 K.10 strength of the electron-phonon interaction from a constant to a function of the alloy purity. This can be accurately measured much more easily than thermal conductivity. The equations can also be used as a check on the plausibility of thermal conductivity measurements. [6] Mikhailova GN. the remainder (e. Subvolume A.4-1. Chu TK. 6082 (T6) 6061 (T6). E. Rev. 5083 (O). Translated from Zh. The predictions are based on a set of semi-empirical equations for the thermal conductivity of pure aluminium [2]. Phys. 1984. copper. An error bar shows the range of values obtained for 6061 T6. but can be applied indirectly by calculating the low temperature (residual) resistivity from the room temperature value and applying the WiedemannFranz law at low temperatures. the mid-points of the ranges of values are shown here. [3] Bass J. Thermal and electrical conductivity of certain technical materials in the temperature range 0. In LandoltBörnstein .5◦ K.g. et al. VI. Superconductivity. Note that for alloys 2024 (T4) and 6061 (T6). Another important application is the ability to predict thermal conductivity from a single low temperature electrical resistivity value. either obtained directly or found in the literature.9:861. significantly different values are reported from different measurements. Tekh. Extrapolating the thermal conductivity from low temperature measurements generally produces results which agree with true measured values by 10% or better. Chap. The line styles alternate between solid and dashed curves to aid the eye. iron and tungsten for temperatures from 1 K to the melting point. 2024 (T86) 7039 (T61) 2024 (T4). Phys. 7075 (T6) 5083 (H113). NBSIR 84-3007.41:800-803 [7] Linz RJ. Tech. It is also possible to make extrapolations with a similar accuracy from room temperature measurements. 5052 (O). Colorado. similar values have been grouped together . [2] Hust JG. 1982. 7039 (O) 5154 (O) 2219 (T81). [5] D P Seraphim CC.10:4869. CONCLUSIONS I have shown that it is possible to usefully predict the thermal conductivity of an aluminium alloy at temperatures between the superconducting transition temperature and room temperature. Methuen. 1961. 7075 (T73) 2024 (T6) 2014 (T651). Fiz. the first four figures (e. 6. B 1974. For clarity. 1992. 5086 (F) Figure 10: Recommended values for the thermal conductivity of various aluminium alloys. For each alloy. 1971. page 5 [4] Lynton EA. Thermal conductivity of aluminum. and then extrapolating to other temperatures. For more accurate results. 1971.

Kozinets VV. 1959. The calculated Lorenz number is 2. Aluminium alloys for space applications: Low temperature thermal conductivity of A6061-T6 and A1050. Powell RL.7:959. 1986.16:695. Cryogenics 2001. Translated from Metallovedenie i Termicheskaya Obrabotka Metallov 1975. Metals Park. Boulder.2 K by passing a DC current through the sample and measuring the voltage. Cryogenics 1992. Metalloved. [9] Duffy Jr. [11] Pustovalov VV. Thermal conductivity of structural aluminum alloys at low temperatures. Electrical resistivity of some engineering alloys at low temperatures. Phys. Wallace GH. Particle. Sandström R.75A:269. 32:707. Roder HM. 10:295. Ref. Thermal conductivity of aluminum alloys at low temperatures. Merisov BA. Thermal conductivity of ten selected binary alloy systems. A 1971. App. Thermal conductivity of solids at room temperature and below: A review and compilation of the literature. The thermal conductivity of C17510 beryllium-copper alloy below 1 K. Metal science and heat treatment (USA) 1971. Thermophysical properties of matter. Thermal conductivity. American Society for Metals. Shumilin SE.11 [8] Coccia E. [19] Barucci M. Dalal S. Wu KY. Met. et al. US. Volume 2. Metal science and heat treatment (USA) 1975.61B:576. B 1975. Detectors and Medical Physics Applications. et al. J. J. J. Damon DH. Monograph number 131. Oxford. Stand. of Metals and Metallography (USSR) 1986. 1976. Isaev NV. [27] Clark AF. II. [13] Woodcraft A. Lanzi L. [17] Touloukian YS. [18] Klaffky RW. Effect of explosive bonds on acoustic loss of aluminium-magnesium alloys. Bhatia RS. Nucl. [16] Properties of materials at low temperature (Phase I). [20] Childs GE. et al.17:436.32:4383. Phys. Chem. Ohio. National Bureau of Standards. et al. Karlsson Å. Kozinets VV. Comparison of experimental.31:496.62:171 [12] Pustovalov VV. The measurement was made with positive and negative current polarities to remove the effect of thermal emfs. [13]. [15] Powell RL. Natl. Clarendon Press. [14] Hust JG. Properties and Selection: Nonferrous Alloys and Pure Metals. Translated from Fiz.. Risegari L. Translated from Metallovedenie i Termicheskaya Obrabotka Metallov 1971. Phys.41:603. [30] ASM Handbook Committee. Ref. . Rev. Space Physics.13:422. Ackerman MW. Saxena SC. the material was from the same sheet as for the thermal measurements described in Ref. Cryogenics 1996. B. Journal of Materials Science 1997. 2003. Fomenko VS. 1970. National Bureau of Standards. Thermal conductivity of the elements. [21] Ho CY. Merisov BA. Phys.54. Hall WJ. Chem. calculated and observed values for electrical and thermal conductivity of aluminium alloys. Liley PE.17:69 [24] Berman R. et al. Lattice thermal conductivity of deformed and annealed aluminum alloys in the temperature range 1. J.13:64 [23] Zlobintsev GM. 1998. and thermopower of aerospace alloys from 4 to 300 K. Supp. Metals Handbook Ninth Edition.3-60 K. Superconductivity and flow stress of Al-Li alloys near 1 K. J. [25] Ho CY. 1. Mohan NS. Ericks LJ. 1979. E 1983. Phys. [29] Measured at 4. electrical resistivity. W. Colorado. Proc. Sudiwala RV. Accepted for Proceedings of 8th ICATTP conference on Astroparticle.27 × 10−8 WΩK−2 . Low-temperature transport properties of commercial metals and alloys. Aluminums. Weitzel DH. Cryogenics 1970. Olivieri E. Boulder. Phys. [22] Zlobintsev GM. [28] Ólafsson P. Data 1974. Thermal Conduction in Solids. Thermal conductivity of the normal and superconducting Al/Si 1% alloy. Res. Bonetti A. Vol. Phys. Bur. Thermal conductivity: metallic elements and alloys.11:1297. Childs GE. [10] Ventura G.3 Suppl. et al. Sec. 1973. Thermal and superconducting properties of an aluminium alloy for gravitational wave antennae below 1K. Data. 1978. Lilley PE.62:155. Plastic deformation and superconducting properties of aluminium alloys at temperatures 0. 1.2K. Powell RW. Niinikoski TO. Colorado. Powell RL.36:559. [26] The resistivity of an Al 6061 T6 sample was measured above the superconducting transition temperature using a cryogenic resistance bridge. 1960. Plenum.