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A review of some of the best articles written about water and its triple point

1. “A History of the Thermometer and its use in Metrology”

By W. E. Knowles Middleton pub. John Hopkins (1966).

This book is essential reading for those who enjoy the history of thermometry.

2. “The Measurement of Some Thermal Properties of Water”

By H. F. Stimpson. Journal of the Washington Academy of Science Vol. 35, No. 7 July 1945.

Although this article deals mainly with calorimetry the last few pages explain simply and clearly why the water triple point is preferable to the ice/water temperature.

Stimpson describes his water triple point cell which has a flask attached to enable him to redistill the contents.

 Jim Cross was a Technician for Stimpson and eventually Jim left NBS and started the Jarrett Instrument Company.

Stimpson’s cell forms the basis of Isotech’s K.T. cell and Jarrett’s A11 cell.

3. “Reproducibility of Some Triple Point of Water Cells”

By George T. Furukawa and William R. Bigge. Temperature – Its Measurement & Control in Science & Industry Vol. 5 1982.

Some 22 Jarrett produced cells made between 1958 and 1981 are compared. All those less than or 10 years old are within 40µK of the highest value cell!

 Interestingly the oldest cell, made in 1958 was only 6µK below the reference cell. Once again this report is so well written and the information is essential to those studying the subject.

4. “Evaluations of Water Triple Point Cells – A Summary Report of Recent International Intercomparisons”

By H. E. Sostmann. Cal Lab magazine July 1997 and Isotech Journal of Thermometry

Henry Sostmann describes and comments on International Intercomparisons including number 3 above.

5. “A Non-destructive Method to Evaluate the Impurity Content in Triple Point of Water Cell’s”

By E. Mendez-Lango. Tempmeko 2001.

Impurities in water triple point cells is a hot topic in 2005 and here Mendez-Lango uses the freeze curve of the cell to ascribe a purity.

6. “Long Term Drift in Triple Point of Water Cells”

By K. D. Hill of NRC. CCT/2000-5.

In this useful document some 27 water triple point cells of ages up to 23 years are intercompared to find their average drift rate. Dr. Hill observes a rate of around 4µK per year downward.

7. “Effects of Different Methods of Preparation of Ice Mantles of Triple Point of Water Cells on the Temporal Behaviour of the Triple Temperature”

By G. T. Furukawa, B. W. Mangum and G. F. Strouse. Metrologia 1997.34.

This detailed report concludes that if left 11 days cells have the same temperature irrespective of how the cell’s mantle has been prepared.

 8. “Nucleation Temperature of Under Cooled Water Triple Point Cells”

By M. Tishler Pub. VDI ( Germany ).

Moise’s notes that each water triple point cell has its own unique nucleation temperature which is reproducible.

9. “A Practical Method of Realising the Triple Point of Water Using Totally Frozen Cells”

By M. Tishler. Metrologia 1997.34.

Too scary for most of us I think, although I did try it using liquid nitrogen being in a hurry and broke the cell!

 10. “Effects of Heavy Hydrogen & Oxygen on the Triple Point Temperature of Water”

By Dr. White. Tempmeko 1999 proceedings.

11. “Isotopic Composition of Water used for Triple Point of Water Cells”

By J. V. Nicholas, T. D. Dransfield and Dr. White.

There are a series of articles by Nicholas and White concerning the isotopic analysis of water triple point cells. Rod White is considered the world expert on the subject.

12. “Dissolved Glass in Triple Point of Water Cells”

By Dr. White et al. Tempmeko 2004.

The drift in water triple point cells over time is attributed to the water slowly leaching out chemicals from the inside surface of the cell. This paper discusses in a practical and meaningful way the problem and possible solutions.

13. “Measuring the Residual Air Pressure in Triple Point of Water Cells”

By Dr. White. Meas Sci Tech Vol. 15 (2004).

Rod shows how to calculate the depression in temperature due to residual air inside a cell.


14. A Technical Guide for the Qualification and use of Jarrett/Isotech Water Triple Point Cells

By H. E. Sostman & J. P Tavener.

15. “Fully Defined Water Triple Point Cells”

By J. P. Tavener & A. Blundell (2001).

16. “The Triple Point of Water, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow”

By J. P. Tavener and A. Blundell (2001).

17. “The Water Triple Point Cell – An Optimal Realisation”

By J. P. Tavener & A. Blundell.

18. “The Triple Point of Water – A Reference Cell Close to the ITS-90 Value”

By J. P. Tavener & A. Blundell.

19. “Water Triple Point Cells – Size Matters”

By J. P. Tavener and A. Blundell.

20. “Water Triple Point – Isotopic Analysis of 28 Cells Made Between 2001 and 2003”

By J. P. Tavener and A. Blundell.

21. “Water – A Dissertation to Wet the Appetite”

By J. P. Tavener.

22. Watch out for CCT-K7 an Intercomparison by BIPM of Cells from 20 National Laboratories that includes 4 Jarrett/Isotech Cells.


23. “Further Isotopic Analysis & Purity Assessment of 14 Cells Made During 2004”

By J. P. Tavener & A. Blundell.

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