Pronunciation: [kˈapɪtsə ɹɪsˈɪstəns] (IPA)

Kapitza resistance is a term used in physics to describe the resistance of thermal energy transfer between two materials in contact at temperatures below 1 K. The phonetic transcription for Kapitza resistance is /kəˈpiːtsə rɪˈzɪstəns/. The word has the stress on the second syllable and is spelled with a "K" instead of a "C" because it is named after the Russian physicist Pyotr Kapitsa. Understanding Kapitza resistance is important in fields such as cryogenics and thermodynamics.

KAPITZA RESISTANCE Meaning and Definition

  1. Kapitza resistance is a term used in the field of thermal physics to refer to the phenomenon of heat transfer resistance that occurs at the interface between two different materials or surfaces. More specifically, it describes the resistance encountered when heat is transferred from a solid surface to a fluid (usually a gas or a liquid) with which it is in contact.

    The concept is named after Pyotr Kapitza, a Russian physicist who first observed and studied this phenomenon in the 1940s. Kapitza resistance arises due to the differences in microscopic interactions between the solid surface and the fluid molecules. At the interface, energy transfer occurs through a combination of processes such as phonon diffusion, surface roughness, and molecular interactions. These processes introduce resistance to heat flow, resulting in a temperature gradient across the interface and hence, a decrease in the overall heat transfer rate.

    Kapitza resistance is often encountered and studied in various practical applications, especially in the design and optimization of heat exchangers, electronics cooling systems, and thermal management devices. Understanding and minimizing this resistance is crucial for enhancing heat transfer efficiency and accurately predicting temperature distributions. Theoretical models, numerical simulations, and experimental measurements are employed to analyze and quantify Kapitza resistance in different systems, enabling the development of improved heat transfer technologies.


The word "Kapitza resistance" is derived from the name of the renowned Russian physicist, Pyotr Kapitza. The term was coined in reference to his seminal work on thermal resistance or resistance to heat flow at the interface of two materials. Kapitza made significant contributions to the study of low temperature physics, specifically in the field of heat transfer. He introduced the concept of Kapitza resistance to describe the resistance encountered by heat as it flows across the interface between two solids, typically at very low temperatures. Hence, the term "Kapitza resistance" is named after Pyotr Kapitza, highlighting his significant contributions in this area of research.