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NIST Offers Short Course to Help Industry to Better Measure Temperature

Many industrial managers and engineers know that the accuracy of their temperature measurements has a big impact on the quality of their products or the efficiency of their processes.

In order to help industry improve temperature measurement accuracy, the National Institute of Standards and Technology is offering a new short course, Temperature Measurement by Radiation Thermometry, June 1-5, 1998. The course is designed to help industrial engineers and government or academic scientists better understand critical factors for accurate temperature assessment. Sponsored by NIST's Optical Technology Division, the course can accommodate 16 students and will be offered annually.

The course includes lectures and hands-on experiments. Taught by scientists in NIST's Optical Technology Division, the lectures will cover the fundamentals of radiometry, a non-contact method for surface temperature measurement used widely in industrial applications and materials research. Laboratory experiments with a student- to-teacher ratio of four to one are the main component of the course. Students will participate in problem-solving, skill-building laboratory experiments in which they will learn American Society for Testing and Materials voluntary industry standard test methods (E1256-95). They will gain practical laboratory experience using commercial radiometers and blackbody sources, and learn firsthand about the treatment of the measurement equation and proper uncertainty analysis.

Students who participated in the first radiation thermometry short course in May 1997, gave it "very good" to "excellent" ratings. "It really was helpful," says Andrew Clarkson, process engineer for Techneglas of Columbus, Ohio. "If we can't measure temperature correctly, we can't control our process."

Clarkson says he gained a better understanding of the factors that interfere with accurate non-contact temperature measurement and as a result can better select appropriate sensors. Techneglas makes glass parts for television sets. The Columbus plant manufactures a glass funnel that holds a television's electron gun in place and provides the vacuum it needs to operate.

The funnels form in a hot mold, and it's important for the temperature to be uniform and balanced throughout the mold as it presses molten glass into a funnel, Clarkson explains. Funnel production rates can be increased if the molds are cooled efficiently too, he says, but radiant heat from the molten glass can interfere with measuring the temperature of the mold. The NIST short course helped him to account for this interference on the production line. "I think that class was really worthwhile," Clarkson says.

The laboratory experiments are a success because the equipment manufacturers lend radiometers and blackbody sources to NIST for participation in the short course. The ASTM Subcommittee E20.02 on Radiation Thermometry facilitated the organization of this effort.

The fee for the course is $1,230. For registration information, contact Lori Phillips, B116 Administration Building, NIST, Gaithersburg, Md. 20899-0001, (301) 975-3881, fax: (301) 948-2067, lori.phillips [at] (lori[dot]phillips[at]nist[dot]gov).

For technical information, contact Carol Johnson, B208 Physics Building, NIST, Gaithersburg, Md. 20899-0001, (301) 975-2322, fax: (301) 975-869-5700, cjohnson [at] (cjohnson[at]nist[dot]gov).

As a non-regulatory agency of the Commerce Department's Technology Administration, NIST promotes U.S. economic growth by working with industry to develop and apply technology, measurements and standards.

NOTE TO EDITORS: A color slide of students conducting an experiment in the May 1997 short course is available by calling Linda Joy, (301) 975-4403.

Released February 17, 1998, Updated June 2, 2021