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Immersion effects in zinc ITS-90 fixed-point cells

Pearce, J V; Gray, J; Veltcheva, R; Da Silva, R (2019) Immersion effects in zinc ITS-90 fixed-point cells. Measurement Science and Technology, 30 (12). 124001 ISSN 0957-0233

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The freezing point of zinc (419.527 °C) is an important defining fixed point of the International Temperature Scale of 1990 (ITS-90). To realize it, a crucible of high purity graphite containing an ingot of high purity zinc is placed in a glass container containing an inert gas, with a central re-entrant tube, also glass, to allow insertion of a standard platinum resistance thermometer (SPRT). A key problem with these cells is difficulty in obtaining good immersion of SPRTs; it is commonly thought that the glass construction causes `light piping' whereby the glass could facilitate heat transfer away from the region close to the SPRT sensing element by radiation, both directly and via reflections. In this paper it is shown that at the zinc freezing temperature light piping via reflections between the surfaces of the glass components is not an important heat transfer mechanism. It is also shown that light piping via transmission within the glass components is insignificant because of attenuation at wavelengths where the magnitude of the Planck function is important. In the case of the zinc fixed point, direct line-of-sight radiative heat transfer and thermal effects within the ingot appear to be the most important contributors to spurious immersion effects. It is shown that where the immersion profile is poor, a short platinum coil wrapped around the SPRT in the vicinity of the sensing element to improve radial conduction and to block vertical radiative heat transfer substantially improves the performance.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: ITS-90, fixed point, zinc, SPRT, thermometry
Subjects: Engineering Measurements > Thermal
Divisions: Engineering
Identification number/DOI: 10.1088/1361-6501/ab32b4
Last Modified: 18 Dec 2019 15:18
URI: http://eprintspublications.npl.co.uk/id/eprint/8603

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