A three-dimensional transient thermal mathematical model of a porous silicon based pellistor with two supporting beams was developed. The model was numerically solved using the implicit alternating-direction finite difference method. A computer program written in ANSI C and run on a VAX/VMS computer was utilized to study the influence of the power consumption and the main geometrical dimensions (membrane, beam and heater size) of the pellistor mentioned above on its transient and steady-state thermal behaviour. It was found that considerable improvement in the thermal behaviour of the pellistor could be achieved by reducing the membrane size (length and width). The optimal beam length was determined as 100 μm. By comparing the main sources of energy dissipation it was found that energy was lost predominantly through the heat conduction into the supporting beams.