ASTM E839 - 11

    Standard Test Methods for Sheathed Thermocouples and Sheathed Thermocouple Cable

    Active Standard ASTM E839 | Developed by Subcommittee: E20.04

    Book of Standards Volume: 14.03


      Format Pages Price  
    PDF 17 $48.00   ADD TO CART
    Hardcopy (shipping and handling) 17 $48.00   ADD TO CART
    Standard + Redline PDF Bundle 34 $57.60   ADD TO CART


    Significance and Use

    This standard provides a description of test methods used in other ASTM specifications to establish certain acceptable limits for characteristics of thermocouple assemblies and thermocouple cable. These test methods define how those characteristics shall be determined.

    The usefulness and purpose of the included tests are given for the category of tests.

    Warning—Users should be aware that certain characteristics of thermocouples might change with time and use. If a thermocouples designed shipping, storage, installation, or operating temperature has been exceeded, that thermocouples moisture seal may have been compromised and may no longer adequately prevent the deleterious intrusion of water vapor. Consequently, the thermocouples condition established by test at the time of manufacture may not apply later. In addition, inhomogeneities can develop in thermoelements because of exposure to higher temperatures, even in cases where maximum exposure temperatures have been lower than the suggested upper use temperature limits specified in Table 1 of Specification E608/E608M. For this reason, calibration of thermocouples destined for delivery to a customer is not recommended. Because the EMF indication of any thermocouple depends upon the condition of the thermoelements along their entire length, as well as the temperature profile pattern in the region of any inhomogeneity, the EMF output of a used thermocouple will be unique to its installation. Because temperature profiles in calibration equipment are unlikely to duplicate those of the installation, removal of a used thermocouple to a separate apparatus for calibration is not recommended. Instead, in situ calibration by comparison to a similar thermocouple known to be good is often recommended.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This document lists methods for testing Mineral-Insulated, Metal-Sheathed (MIMS) thermocouple assemblies and thermocouple cable, but does not require that any of these tests be performed nor does it state criteria for acceptance. The acceptance criteria are given in other ASTM standard specifications that impose this testing for those thermocouples and cable. Examples from ASTM thermocouple specifications for acceptance criteria are given for many of the tests. These tabulated values are not necessarily those that would be required to meet these tests, but are included as examples only.

    1.2 These tests are intended to support quality control and to evaluate the suitability of sheathed thermocouple cable or assemblies for specific applications. Some alternative test methods to obtain the same information are given, since in a given situation, an alternative test method may be more practical. Service conditions are widely variable, so it is unlikely that all the tests described will be appropriate for a given thermocouple application. A brief statement is made following each test description to indicate when it might be used.

    1.3 The tests described herein include test methods to measure the following properties of sheathed thermocouple material and assemblies.

    1.3.1 Insulation Properties:

    1.3.1.1 Compactiondirect method, absorption method, and tension method.

    1.3.1.2 Thickness.

    1.3.1.3 Resistanceat room temperature and at elevated temperature.

    1.3.2 Sheath Properties:

    1.3.2.1 Integritytwo water test methods and mass spectrometer.

    1.3.2.2 Dimensionslength, diameter, and roundness.

    1.3.2.3 Wall thickness.

    1.3.2.4 Surfacegross visual, finish, defect detection by dye penetrant, and cold-lap detection by tension test.

    1.3.2.5 Metallurgical structure.

    1.3.2.6 Ductilitybend test and tension test.

    1.3.3 Thermoelement Properties:

    1.3.3.1 Calibration.

    1.3.3.2 Homogeneity.

    1.3.3.3 Drift.

    1.3.3.4 Thermoelement diameter, roundness, and surface appearance.

    1.3.3.5 Thermoelement spacing.

    1.3.3.6 Thermoelement ductility.

    1.3.3.7 Metallurgical structure.

    1.3.4 Thermocouple Assembly Properties:

    1.3.4.1 Dimensionslength, diameter, and roundness.

    1.3.4.2 Surfacegross visual, finish, reference junction end moisture seal, and defect detection by dye penetrant.

    1.3.4.3 Electricalcontinuity, loop resistance, and connector polarity.

    1.3.4.4 Radiographic inspection.

    1.3.4.5 Thermoelement diameter.

    1.3.4.6 Thermal response time.

    1.3.4.7 Thermal cycle.

    1.4 The values stated in either SI units or inch-pound units are to be regarded separately as standard. The values stated in each system may not be exact equivalents; therefore, each system shall be used independently of the other. Combining values from the two systems may result in non-conformance with the standard.

    1.5 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.


    2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.

    ASTM Standards

    E3 Guide for Preparation of Metallographic Specimens

    E94 Guide for Radiographic Examination

    E112 Test Methods for Determining Average Grain Size

    E165 Practice for Liquid Penetrant Examination for General Industry

    E177 Practice for Use of the Terms Precision and Bias in ASTM Test Methods

    E207 Test Method for Thermal EMF Test of Single Thermoelement Materials by Comparison with a Reference Thermoelement of Similar EMF-Temperature Properties

    E220 Test Method for Calibration of Thermocouples By Comparison Techniques

    E230 Specification and Temperature-Electromotive Force (EMF) Tables for Standardized Thermocouples

    E235 Specification for Thermocouples, Sheathed, Type K and Type N, for Nuclear or for Other High-Reliability Applications

    E344 Terminology Relating to Thermometry and Hydrometry

    E585/E585M Specification for Compacted Mineral-Insulated, Metal-Sheathed, Base Metal Thermocouple Cable

    E608/E608M Specification for Mineral-Insulated, Metal-Sheathed Base Metal Thermocouples

    E691 Practice for Conducting an Interlaboratory Study to Determine the Precision of a Test Method

    E780 Test Method for Measuring the Insulation Resistance of Mineral-Insulated, Metal-Sheathed Thermocouples and Thermocouple Cable at Room Temperature

    E1025 Practice for Design, Manufacture, and Material Grouping Classification of Hole-Type Image Quality Indicators (IQI) Used for Radiology

    E1129/E1129M Specification for Thermocouple Connectors

    E1350 Guide for Testing Sheathed Thermocouples, Thermocouples Assemblies, and Connecting Wires Prior to, and After Installation or Service

    E1684 Specification for Miniature Thermocouple Connectors

    E1751 Guide for Temperature Electromotive Force (EMF) Tables for Non-Letter Designated Thermocouple Combinations

    E2181/E2181M Specification for Compacted Mineral-Insulated, Metal-Sheathed, Noble Metal Thermocouples and Thermocouple Cable

    ANSI Standard

    B46.1 Surface Texture Available from American National Standards Institute (ANSI), 25 W. 43rd St., 4th Floor, New York, NY 10036.


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 17.200.20 (Temperature-measuring instruments)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code 41112206(Thermocouples)


    DOI: 10.1520/E0839-11

    ASTM International is a member of CrossRef.

    ASTM E839

    Citing ASTM Standards
    Back to Top