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LEGO Block Structures as a Sub-Kelvin Thermal Insulator

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
Article number19642
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>23/12/2019
<mark>Journal</mark>Scientific Reports
Volume9
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

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.