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NIST Virtual Museum Logo History of Other NIST Thermal Conductivity Equipment


In October of 1961, Robinson presented a paper on "Current NBS Steady-State Thermal Conductivity Measurement Methods" to the First Thermal Conductivity Conference held at Battelle Memorial Institute. A general view of the methods was given in the form of a "conspectus" that described seven steady-state apparatus in use at NBS for determining thermal conductivity of non-fluid materials. In particular, the paper described a metals apparatus, absolute cut-bar apparatus, vacuum absolute cut-bar apparatus, steam calorimeter, conductive disk, guarded hot-plate apparatus, and ceramic core apparatus. Collectively, these apparatus covered a thermal conductivity and temperature range of 0.01 W/mK to 500 W/mK and - 150 °C to 1200 °C, respectively. In retrospect, it was a remarkable collection of apparatus that is not likely to be duplicated at NIST again. Since 1962, all of these apparatus described by Robinson have been deactivated. The most renowned of these apparatus, the guarded-hot-plate method, was most recently retired in 1983.


 H. E. Robinson (r) and F. J. Powell discuss the operation of an apparatus
used for highly accurate thermal conductivity measurements at temperatures
up to 1100 °C (2000 °F), while D.R. Flynn, Physicist, NBS Environmental
Engineering Section, monitors the control console (1967).


Guarded-Hot-Plate Apparatus Home