Low Thermal Conductivity of Carbon Dioxide at High Pressure: Implications for Icy Planetary Interiors

Sean R. Shieh, Wen Pin Hsieh, Yi Chih Tsao, Christian Crisostomo, Han Hsu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Carbon dioxide is commonly found in terrestrial planets and its thermal property is relevant to the dynamics and evolution of those terrestrial planets. In this work, we combine time-domain thermoreflectance measurements and first-principles calculations to determine the thermal conductivity of CO2 up to 70 GPa at room temperature. Our results show that the thermal conductivity of liquid CO2 is ∼0.22 W m−1 K−1 at 0.3–0.5 GPa and increases to ∼0.28 W m−1 K−1 when the liquid CO2 transforms into molecular solid phase I (dry ice). Upon further compression, the mean value of thermal conductivity of phase I increases to 1.4–2.1 W m−1 K−1 at ∼10 GPa and then slightly drops across the phase I-III boundary. Phase III exhibits a gentle increase of thermal conductivity with pressure and reaches to a maximum value of ∼4 W m−1 K−1 at ∼45 GPa, but shows an abrupt drop when transforming into a non-molecular amorphous solid. The pressure evolution of CO2 thermal conductivity across different phases may have significant implications for the heat flow and temperature distribution in the interiors of planets and moons containing CO2.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2022JE007180
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Planets
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2022


  • CO
  • high pressure
  • planetary interior
  • TDTR
  • thermal conductivity


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