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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

+ρ

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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◦

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Phys. Tech. Phys. 1971;16:626. Translated from Zh. Tekh. Fiz.

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[7] Linz RJ, Chu TK, Bouley AC, et al. Dislocation thermal resis-

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11

[8] Coccia E, Niinikoski TO. Thermal and superconducting prop-

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[26] The resistivity of an Al 6061 T6 sample was measured above

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−8

WΩK

−2

.

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[30] ASM Handbook Committee. Metals Handbook Ninth Edition.

Volume 2. Properties and Selection: Nonferrous Alloys and

Pure Metals. American Society for Metals, Metals Park, Ohio,

US, 1979.

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.

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