Tiny hollow glass microsphere (HGM) can be applied for designing new light-weighted and thermal-insulated composites as high strength core, owing to its hollow structure. However, little work has been found for studying its own overall thermal conductivity independent of any matrix, which generally cannot be measured or evaluated directly. In this study, the overall thermal conductivity of HGM is investigated experimentally and numerically. The experimental investigation of thermal conductivity of HGM powder is performed by the transient plane source (TPS) technique to provide a reference to numerical results, which are obtained by a developed three-dimensional two-step hierarchical computational method. In the present method, three heterogeneous HGM stacking elements representing different distributions of HGMs in the powder are assumed. Each stacking element and its equivalent homogeneous solid counterpart are, respectively, embedded into a fictitious matrix material as fillers to form two equivalent composite systems at different levels, and then the overall thermal conductivity of each stacking element can be numerically determined through the equivalence of the two systems. The comparison of experimental and computational results indicates the present computational modeling can be used for effectively predicting the overall thermal conductivity of single HGM and its powder in a flexible way. Besides, it is necessary to note that the influence of thermal interfacial resistance cannot be removed from the experimental results in the TPS measurement.
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