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Cryogenic Technologies Project


The mission of the Cryogenic Technologies Project at NIST is to conduct research in cryogenics, working with industry and other government agencies in the development of new and/or improved processes and products involving cryogenic technologies.

To read an encyclopedic article providing information about cryogenics follow this link.

Major Program Elements

  • Develop advanced measurement techniques and standard measurements practices for cryogenic processes.
  • Investigate new and innovative cryogenic refrigeration processes.
  • Develop mathematical models for cryogenic processes.
  • Design and test prototype components and systems to compare performance with models to improve modeling techniques.
  • Provide critically evaluated data for the properties of solid materials at cryogenic temperature.
  • Assist in development of bibliographic database on cryogenics.
  • Conduct calibrations of cryogenic flow meters.

Property Data for Materials at Cryogenic Temperatures

The design of systems for operation at cryogenic temperatures requires the use of material properties at these low temperatures. The properties at cryogenic temperatures can be much different than the room-temperature values. In addition, some properties can be strong functions of temperature.

Property data at cryogenic temperatures are not easy to find. Many measurements were made at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and other laboratories about 50 years ago. Some of the results were published in reports that are now out of print, which makes the results unavailable to most researchers. To correct that problem, NIST initiated a program to critically evaluate cryogenic material properties and to curve fit the available data for temperatures in the range of about 4 K to 300 K. The parameters for the curve fit, as well as a graph of the curve, are available on the website Click on "Material Properties" to find the list of materials. The properties available include thermal conductivity, specific heat, linear thermal expansion, thermal expansion coefficient, and Young's modulus. Not all properties are available for all materials. The materials currently in the database are ones commonly used in the construction of cryogenic hardware.

Additionally, to view an index with links to individual materials for which these properties are evaluated please see: Cryogenic Index of Material Properties Database


Cryogenic Flow Facility

The Division operates the NIST Cryogenic Flow Measurement Facility, located in Boulder, Colorado.  Please follow the link to learn more about this world-class testing facility.

Major Accomplishments:


Dr. Ray Radebaugh receives Samuel C. Collins Award. At the CEC/ICMC Awards Breakfast on July 2, Ray Radebaugh received the prestigious Samuel C. Collins Award for “an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the identification and solution of cryogenic engineering problems and has…demonstrated a concern for the cryogenic community through unselfish professional service and leadership to this community.” Radebaugh recently retired from NIST, but is continuing in a consulting role with the institute. 

Regenerators Apparatus

Lead Organizational Unit:


Facilities/Tools Used:


Peter Bradley
Michael A. Lewis


Ray Radebaugh

Related Programs and Projects:


Peter Bradley