National Physical Laboratory

Image courtesy of iStockphoto Thermal Performance

NPL's Thermal Performance team provides a wide range of measurement facilities for characterising thermophysical properties of materials and the heat transfer within engineering structures.

Measurement Areas

  • Thermal analysis of materials using DSC, DMA, TMA and TGA.
  • Thermal expansion measurements can be made within the temperature range -140 °C to 1400 ° C.
  • Thermal conductivity and thermal resistance measurements on construction and engineering materials.

Thermal performance data on materials and structures is required for design and heat management in most forms of advanced engineering and processing. NPL provides comprehensive, world-class facilities (a number being unique within the UK) for measuring thermal properties including: thermal conductivity, thermal diffusivity, heat capacity and thermal expansion.

NPL provides technical experts on thermal measurement to a wide range of CEN, ISO, BIPM and EURAMET working groups and has UKAS accreditation to ISO Guide 34 for the provision of reference materials and transfer standards used to calibrate commercial measurement apparatus. We also offer consultancy and a range of measurement services, providing both the material data required for modelling industrial applications and the accredited measurements required for certification of construction products.

Measurement needs

Please tell us about any measurement needs you may have. Some examples of these might be:

  • Issues relating to product inspection
  • Issues relating to process control
  • Training requirements
  • Obtaining specialist calibration or testing support
  • Problem solving on measurement issues
  • Demonstrating or assessing measurement system or product performance

Your input will help us to develop our future work.

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Thermal Performance


NPL and four other European National Measurement Institutes (NMIs) are undertaking a three year collaborative project to develop thermal conductivity metrology for high temperature thermal protection materials. Find out more about EMRP SIB52 Thermo.

For more information about the Thermal Performance team and our work, please contact Lindsay Chapman.

The Thermal Performance Industrial Advisory Group (IAG) monitors and guides the research carried out at NPL.


Please note that the information will not be divulged to third parties, or used without your permission