Enhancing process efficiency through improved temperature measurement : the EMPRESS projects

Pearce, J V and Edler, F and Fateev, A and Sutton, G and Andreu, A and Machin, G (2023) Enhancing process efficiency through improved temperature measurement : the EMPRESS projects. Journal of Physics: Conference Series, 2554 (1). 012003. ISSN 1742-6588 (https://doi.org/10.1088/1742-6596/2554/1/012003)

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EMPRESS 2 is a European project to enhance the efficiency of high value manufacturing processes by improving temperature measurement and control capability. This project seeks to address four contemporary thermometry challenges in this sector, and new developments from this and its predecessor project, EMPRESS, will be described: • Below 1000°C many industrial processes require reliable surface thermometry e.g. welding, coating, forging and forming. Conventional non-contact surface thermometry techniques e.g. thermal imaging are prone to large errors (tens of degrees) due to reflected thermal radiation and unknown emissivity. Contact thermometry approaches are prone to similarly large errors. Traceable imaging phosphor thermometry is being developed to overcome these difficulties, and is being combined with quantitative thermography to determine emissivity for thermometry over wide fields of view. • Above 1300°C sensor drift is a significant unaddressed issue for casting, forging and heat treatment, causing large errors. There is a need for more stable sensors and standardisation of at least one new thermocouple type to fill the gap from 1300°C to 1800°C. This is being addressed through improved Pt-Rh thermocouples and optimisation of double-walled mineral insulated, metal sheathed thermocouples by mitigating insulation breakdown and drift effects. • Combustion temperature measurement is very challenging and traceability is almost non-existent; for example, thermocouple measurements of flame temperatures can be in error by hundreds of degrees. A ‘standard flame’ that can be transported to users’ sites has been developed, and is being deployed in several high value manufacturing and industrial applications to a) demonstrate the possibility of reducing flame temperature uncertainties by at least an order of magnitude and b) for the first time to demonstrate in-situ traceability to the International Temperature Scale of 1990 (ITS-90). • Many processes are not amenable to any conventional thermometry techniques due to inaccessibility, ionising radiation, electromagnetic interference, and contamination; here methods based on optical fibres are ideal but there are no traceable calibration techniques for such sensors currently available. A suite of different fibre-optic thermometers and calibration techniques is being developed to address this. In some cases (ionising radiation) darkening of the fibre is a problem, and this is being overcome by the development of novel thermometry approaches based on practical ‘hollow core’ fibres.