ENGS 88 Honors Thesis (AB Students)

Degree Program


Year of Graduation


Faculty Advisor

Mary R. Albert

Document Type

Thesis (Senior Honors)

Publication Date

Spring 6-1-2021


A custom device is designed, validated, and used to make the first reported direct measurements of the effective thermal conductivity of polar firn. The firn cores spanned depths from 8 to 47 m from an undisturbed site near the South Pole in Antarctica. The thermal conductivity varies with depth, with values ranging from 0.617 to 1.018 W/mK, and the associated thermal diffusivities range from 20.95 to 25.68 m2/a. Density and porosity contribute to the variation in thermal conductivity but cannot be used to completely prescribe the conductivity. Initial analyses indicate that firn microstructure relates to conductivity through Euler-Poincaré numbers.

Included in

Engineering Commons