Recently we reported on simultaneous thermal conductivity k and thermal diffusivity a measurement of liquids and in particular of nanofluids in a configuration using an ac excited hot wire combined with lock-in detection of the third harmonic (3 omega method) . The conductive wire is used as both heater and sensor. The requirements for the asymptotic validity of the line heat source model are fulfilled at low modulation frequencies below a few Hz. The study of the relative sensitivity of signal amplitude and phase to changes in k and a indicates that there is an optimum frequency range for accurate and stable results. We extend by up to two decades the feasible frequency range for 3 omega measurements by considering various more elaborate models for the heat transfer between the wire and the fluid. Finally we show that the same ac hot wire method can be applied to soft solid, composite materials. We measured the k enhancement of a poly(ethylene vinyl acetate) EVA polymer matrix charged with various fractions of graphite.