Many people don’t consider from day to day how we know properties of any given material for use in design. It seems to be common knowledge that water freezes at 0°C, and it’s easy enough to look up thermal conductivities or heat capacity of common metals, gasses, and building materials. What happens, however, when your operating conditions are hundreds of degrees below room temperature? You can’t assume the same, easily found values anymore – you have to find someone who has taken the measurements at those extreme temperatures. So where do you go? Here’s a list of some good options we’ve used in the past to find data.
- Engineering Equation Solver (EES)
- The lab uses EES for much of the thermodynamic calculations we do, and one reason is that it has standard curves for thermodynamic properties of many materials across a wide range of operating conditions. Through available function calls, you can get accurate thermodynamic properties for the most common real and ideal fluids, even at cryogenic temperatures. EES also has a selection of commonly used incompressible substances. Whenever using a material for the first time, make sure you look at the substance properties and references to ensure you understand the valid operating conditions and assumptions the substance is using.
- NIST Cryogenic Materials Database
- NIST has data for several common structural materials at cryogenic materials. Some of these are referenced as incompressible substances in EES, some are not. The specific properties given varies for the different substances.
- Researchmeasurments.com / Jack Ekin’s Experimental Techniques for Low-temperature Measurements: Cryostat Design, Materials Properties, and Superconductor Critical-Current Testing
- This site provides supplemental information and updates for the book Experimental Techniques for Low-temperature Measurements: Cryostat Design, Materials Properties, and Superconductor Critical-Current Testing, published by Oxford University Press in 2006, 2007, and 2011. The book is a handy guide we often use for reference in building our cryogenic systems. The site has many figures and data tables from the book, including many on the varies properties of materials commonly used in cryogenic design. The book provides much further insight into design that is not available on the website, and the lab owns several copies for reference.
These are the sources we’ve used the most in the lab – please let us know if you have a favorite we haven’t listed!