Experiences in Calibrating Industrial Platinum Resistance Sensors Between − 196 °C and 80 °C

  • R. I. Veltcheva
  • R. L. Rusby
  • D. M. Peters
  • R. E. J. Watkins
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. TEMPMEKO 2016: Selected Papers of the 12th International Symposium on Temperature, Humidity, Moisture and Thermal Measurements in Industry and Science


Recently, a requirement arose to provide sensors for measuring the temperature of a substantial reference blackbody cavity to operate in vacuum over a temperature range from − 100 °C to 80 °C (~ 170 K to ~ 350 K), with an additional capability to operate at ~− 170 °C (~ 100 K) as a point of near-zero radiance. Several 100 Ω industrial platinum resistance sensors (Pt100) are required for control purposes in order to establish the temperature uniformity of the blackbody structure and its surrounding aluminum-alloy isothermal shield. These sensors should remain stable within the uncertainties of 0.03 °C (k = 3) ideally for 20 years. This paper discusses the testing and calibration of two types of industrial Pt100 resistors, including checking the interchangeability of sensors from a given batch, and the methods of interpolation over the temperature range. It is concluded that the sensors can meet the requirements provided that they have been individually tested, and that there is a degree of duplication of sensors so that long-term changes can be detected. The calibration data could be fitted by cubic or quartic equations expressing temperature as a function of resistance (or resistance ratio), this being simpler than the ITS-90 formulation and more convenient than using the (technically obsolete) Callendar–Van Dusen equation.


Calibration Cycling Interpolation curves Platinum resistance thermometers Pt100 



The authors would like to thank Andrew Clack of the Clarendon Laboratory, University of Oxford, for preparing and wiring the sensors ready for testing. This work was partially supported under a subcontract to Science and Technology Facilities Council.


  1. 1.
    N. Melzack et al., Int. J. Thermophys. 38, 30 (2017)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    B.W.A. Ricketson, R.E.J. Watkins, Cryogenics 49, 320 (2009)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    IEC 60751 Industrial Platinum Resistance Thermometers and Platinum Temperature Sensors (International Electrotechnical Commission, Geneva, 2008)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    O. Tamura, H. Sakurai, T. Nakajima, in Temperature: Its Measurement and Control in Science and Industry, vol. 6, ed. by J.F. Schooley (AIP, New York, 1992), pp. 443–448Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    V.C. Fernicola, L. Iacomini, Int. J. Thermophys. 29, 1817 (2008)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    JF Dubbeldam, MJ de Groot, in EUROMET Workshop in Temperature (BNM/CNAM, Paris, 1998), pp. 39–44Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    K.D. Hill, Acta Metrol. Sin. 12, 56 (2008)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    H Preston-Thomas, Metrologia 27, 3 and 107 (1990)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. I. Veltcheva
    • 1
  • R. L. Rusby
    • 1
  • D. M. Peters
    • 2
  • R. E. J. Watkins
    • 3
  1. 1.National Physical LaboratoryTeddingtonUK
  2. 2.Rutherford Appleton LaboratoryDidcotUK
  3. 3.University of OxfordOxfordUK

Personalised recommendations