Influence of Impurities and Filling Protocol on the Aluminum Fixed Point

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To improve the uncertainty of the aluminum fixed point, a study was launched by LNE-INM/CNAM in the framework of the EUROMET Project 732 “Toward more accurate temperature fixed points” (Coordinating laboratory: LNE-INM/CNAM, 17 partner countries). A new open cell was filled with aluminum of 99.99995% purity. A French laboratory carried out elemental analysis of the sample using glow discharge-mass spectrometry (GD-MS). The values of the equilibrium distribution coefficient k and of the derivative δT1/δci1 of the temperature of the liquidus line with respect to the concentration of impurity i will be obtained through collaboration with a French physical and chemical laboratory. In the past, some aluminum cells were opened after several melts and freezes. The aluminum ingot was sticking to the graphite crucible, indicating that physicochemical reactions had likely occurred between Al and C. To avoid this reaction, an effort was made to draw benefit from the Al2O3 film that appears immediately on the surface of the aluminum ingot when it is exposed to oxygen. The open aluminum cell was tested in different furnaces and with different thermal insulator arrangements inside the fixed-point assembly. The observed drifts of the plateaux were always larger than the expected values. The cell was opened to inspect the aluminum ingot. The ingot was extracted easily, since no sticking to the crucible had occurred. The aluminum showed a very bright surface, but the presence of many “craters” throughout the thickness of the ingot was surprising. In some cases, the thermometer well was even apparent.

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