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A systematic evaluation of contemporary impurity correction methods in ITS-90 aluminium fixed point cells.

da Silva, R; Pearce, J V; Machin, G (2017) A systematic evaluation of contemporary impurity correction methods in ITS-90 aluminium fixed point cells. Metrologia, 54 (3). pp. 365-380.

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The fixed points of the International Temperature Scale of 1990 (ITS-90) are the basis of the calibration of standard platinum resistance thermometers (SPRTs). Impurities in the fixed point material at the level of parts per million can give rise to an elevation or depression of the fixed point temperature of order of millikelvins, which often represents the most significant contribution to the uncertainty of SPRT calibrations. A number of methods for correcting for the effect of impurities have been advocated, but it is becoming increasingly evident that no single method can be used in isolation. In this investigation, a suite of five aluminium fixed point cells (defined ITS-90 freezing temperature 660.323 °C) have been constructed, each cell using metal sourced from a different supplier. The five cells have very different levels and types of impurities. For each cell, chemical assays based on the glow discharge mass spectroscopy (GDMS) technique have been obtained from three separate laboratories. In addition a series of high quality, long duration freezing curves have been obtained for each cell, using three different high quality SPRTs, all measured under nominally identical conditions. The set of GDMS analyses and freezing curves were then used to compare the different proposed impurity correction methods. It was found that the most consistent corrections were obtained with a hybrid correction method based on the sum of individual estimates (SIE) and overall maximum estimate (OME), namely the SIE/Modified-OME method. Also highly consistent was the correction technique based on fitting a Scheil solidification model to the measured freezing curves, provided certain well defined constraints are applied. Importantly, the most consistent methods are those which do not depend significantly on the chemical assay.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: ITS-90, fixed-point, aluminium, impurity
Subjects: Engineering Measurements
Engineering Measurements > Thermal
Divisions: Engineering, Materials & Electrical Science
Identification number/DOI: 10.1088/1681-7575/aa6ab3
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2018 13:13
URI: http://eprintspublications.npl.co.uk/id/eprint/7597

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