13 November 2010 On-orbit absolute temperature calibration using multiple phase change materials: overview of recent technology advancements
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Abstract
NASA's anticipated plan for a mission dedicated to Climate (CLARREO) will hinge upon the ability to fly SI traceable standards that provide irrefutable absolute measurement accuracy. As an example, instrumentation designed to measure spectrally resolved infrared radiances will require high-emissivity calibration blackbodies that have absolute temperature uncertainties of better than 0.045K (3 sigma). A novel scheme to provide absolute calibration of temperature sensors onorbit, that uses the transient melt signatures from multiple phase change materials, has been demonstrated in the laboratory at the University of Wisconsin and is now undergoing technology advancement under NASA Instrument Incubator Program funding. Using small quantities of phase change material (less than half of a percent of the mass of the cavity), melt temperature accuracies of better than 10 mK have been demonstrated for mercury, water, and gallium (providing calibration from 233K to 303K). Refinements currently underway focus on ensuring that the melt materials in their sealed confinement housings perform as expected in the thermal and microgravity environment of a multi-year spaceflight mission. Thermal soak and cycling tests are underway to demonstrate that there is no dissolution from the housings into the melt materials that could alter melt temperature, and that there is no liquid metal embrittlement of the housings from the metal melt materials. In addition, NASA funding has been recently secured to conduct a demonstration of this scheme in the microgravity environment of the International Space Station.
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Fred A. Best, Douglas P. Adler, Claire Pettersen, Henry E. Revercomb, John H. Perepezko, "On-orbit absolute temperature calibration using multiple phase change materials: overview of recent technology advancements", Proc. SPIE 7857, Multispectral, Hyperspectral, and Ultraspectral Remote Sensing Technology, Techniques, and Applications III, 78570J (13 November 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.869564; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.869564
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