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Thermal Tiles

  1. Oct 21, 2005 #1
    I saw a video demonstration some years ago of a NASA scientist holding flat in his hand a thermal tile used for the space shuttle.
    He then took a blow tourch and directed it at the thermal tile, to demonstrate that he could comfortably hold the tile with his bare hand(from behind of course) and not get burned.

    My question is this: With thermal tiles, what happens to the heat from the blow tourch that permits him to hold the tile with his bare hand and not feel uncomfortable temperature increase? Where does the heat go?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 21, 2005 #2


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    The thermal energy which is not conducted by the 'thermal tile' is simply carried away in the plume associated with the combustion flame or surrounding atmosphere, or is radiated by the hot surface of the tile.

    The tile has extremely low thermal conducivity, i.e. it is a very effective insulator, which consequently will establish a huge thermal gradient, so it must also have excellent dimensional stability and thermal shock resistance.
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