Development of a Laser Interferometric Dilatometer

  • W. D. Drotning


The ongoing development of a high precision dilatometer using laser interferometry is described. Design criteria require operation over a temperature range from ambient to 900 K with a length change sensitivity of ten microinches (0.25 µm) or less. In addition, the dilatometer is designed to achieve rapid sample turnaround for quality control measurements in a production environment. To achieve this, design features are incorporated which minimize sample preparation time by relaxing critical size and shape restrictions on test samples. The length change measurement is based on a modified Michelson interferometer using a two-frequency HeNe laser and ac detection of fringes. The final critical alignment of the interferometer during sample installation is achieved by automatic computer control. This alignment control feature can be used to maximize interferometer alignment continuously through the course of a run. The furnace system incorporates a low thermal mass heating chamber to achieve rapid thermal response with minimal thermal disturbance to the interferometer system. Flexibility and reproducibility in heating schedules are achieved through digital control. Dilatometer control and data acquisition functions are accomplished by a minicomputer using a standard interface bus. Areas for further development are also discussed.


Laser Interferometry Heat Schedule Laser Measurement System Heterodyne Frequency Length Change Measurement 


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  1. 1.
    W. D. Drotning, “Design of a High Precision Dilatometer Using Laser Interferometry,” SAND 78–1796, Sandia Laboratories, Albuquerque, NM, (December, 1978 ). Available from: National Technical Information Service, U.S. Dept. of Commerce, 5285 Port Royal Rd., Springfield, VA 22161.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Purdue Research Foundation 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. D. Drotning
    • 1
  1. 1.Sandia National LaboratoriesAlbuquerqueUSA

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