The phenomenon of sintering has a significant impact on the thermal conductivity of a highly porous material. Particle diffusion greatly reduces the number of grain boundaries that are normally present in porous materials. In turn, fewer grain boundaries imply fewer sites for phonon scattering during conductive heat transfer. Therefore, during heat treatment of a highly porous material, particle diffusion accounts for a changing thermal conductivity. This occurs with no bulk densificiation of the material. In fact, SEM images show that the microstructure of a porous material changes from many individual particles with small pores between the particles to diffused particles with large pores in between large chunks of material. To model such a phenomenon, standard equations were scaled with unitless weighting functions to account for variable microstructures during heating. By weighting standard equations, the effects of microstructure could be more accurately described as a function of porosity and time.

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