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Thermal inertia Φ

The degree of thermal inertia φ is defined as the heat capacity ratio of the total system to that of the sample:

φ =1+(mapp?cP,app) / (msample?cP,Sample)

The thermal inertia strongly influences the sensitivity of thermal tests. A high value of the thermal inertia is equivalent to a low or strongly reduced sensitivity of the test method. This has to be accounted for when transferring the experimentally obtained results to the actual plant conditions. The thermal inertia for full scale plants is near to one. All released energy in adiabatic conditions causes a rise in temperature of the sample or the reaction mass.


  • J. Steinbach, Safety Assessment for Chemical Processes, 1999

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