Propagation of Thermal Diffusive Waves in a Metal by Fourier Analysis

Course Project: PHY 500: Graduate Physics Lab

Term: Fall 2016

Supervisor: Dr. Muhammad Sabieh Anwar

Institution: Department of Physics, Lahore University of Management Sciences


A temperature wave propagates along a long thin bar of a metallic sample when subjected to periodic heating. In this way it is demonstrated that there is no wave nature in these improperly called thermal waves by showing that they do not transport energy and its propagation properties can be used to determine the thermal diffusivity of the material.


The purpose of this experiment is to understand the basis of heat flow, recognize heat conduction as a diffusive process by Fourier analysis, solutions of the heat equation, decompose an oscillation into its harmonics, observe different harmonics and how they damp with different rates and ultimately calculate the thermal diffusivity of a metal.

Schematic diagram of the experimental setup.

Project Report:

Complete project report can be downloaded from here (direct link) or from here (researchgate).



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