LEGO Block Structures as a Sub-Kelvin Thermal Insulator

Chawner, Joshua and Jones, Alexander and Noble, Theo and Pickett, George and Tsepelin, Viktor and Zmeev, Dmitry (2019) LEGO Block Structures as a Sub-Kelvin Thermal Insulator. Scientific Reports, 9. ISSN 2045-2322

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We report measurements of the thermal conductance of a structure made from commercial Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) modules, known as LEGO® blocks, in the temperature range from 70 mK to 1.8 K. A power law for the sample’s thermal conductivity κ = (8.7 ± 0.3) × 10−5 T 1.75±0.02 WK−1 m−1 was determined. We conclude that this ABS/void compound material provides better thermal isolation than well-known bulk insulator materials in the explored temperature range, whilst maintaining solid support. LEGO blocks represent a cheap and superlative alternative to materials such as Macor or Vespel. In our setup, <400 nW of power can heat an experimental area of 5 cm2 to over 1 K, without any significant change to the base temperature of the dilution refrigerator. This work suggests that custom-built modular materials with even better thermal performance could be readily and cheaply produced by 3D printing.

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Journal Article
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Scientific Reports
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23 Dec 2019 15:55
Last Modified:
18 Sep 2023 01:42