Standard Active Last Updated: Nov 10, 2021
ASTM E780-17(2021)

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

Significance and Use

5.1 Thermocouples fabricated from thermocouple cable that has been contaminated by moisture or by other impurities may undergo large changes in thermoelectric properties or may fail catastrophically when exposed to high temperatures. Since such contamination usually lowers the electrical resistance between the thermoelements and the sheath substantially, measurement of the insulation resistance can provide a valuable check of insulation quality and cleanliness, and can serve as a basis for rejection of unsuitable material and unreliable components. For manufacturers in particular, low electrical insulation resistance can also be indicative of displaced thermoelements or conductors or defects in the metal sheath which will require further investigation, but all users should be aware of these potential defects when faced with an unacceptable insulation resistance measurement.

5.2 This test method is primarily intended for use by manufacturers and users of mineral-insulated, metal-sheathed (MIMS) thermocouples or MIMS cables to verify that measured values of insulation resistance exceed specified minimum values, such as those listed in Specifications E235, E585/E585M, E608/E608M, E2181/E2181M, and E2821. Manufacturers and users should be aware, however, that when the insulation resistance is greater than 1 × 108 Ω, disagreement by an order of magnitude in the results obtained with this test method is not unusual. In addition, users of this test method should appreciate that the room temperature insulation resistance of both MIMS cables and of finished thermocouples will change during shipment, storage, and use if the end seals are damaged or defective. Consequently, values of insulation resistance determined by this test method may not necessarily be repeatable.


1.1 This test method provides the procedures for measuring the room temperature electrical insulation resistance between the thermoelements and between the thermoelements and the sheath, of a mineral-insulated, metal-sheathed (MIMS) thermocouple or mineral-insulated, metal-sheathed (MIMS) thermocouple cable or between the conductors and between the conductors and the sheath, of mineral-insulated, metal-sheathed (MIMS) cable used for industrial resistance thermometers. It may be used to measure the insulation resistance of bulk lengths of mineral-insulated, metal-sheathed MIMS cable previously sealed against moisture intrusion or to test a thermocouple having an ungrounded measuring junction. This method cannot be used to test a thermocouple having a grounded measuring junction unless the measuring junction is removed prior to testing, after which the thermocouple may be dealt with in the same manner as a mineral-insulated, metal-sheathed (MIMS) cable.

1.2 This test method applies primarily to thermocouple cables and cable used for industrial resistance thermometers conforming to Specifications E585/E585M, E2181/E2181M, and E2821 and to thermocouples conforming to Specifications E608/E608M and E2181/E2181M, but may also be applied to thermocouples or MIMS cables that are suitable for use in air, whose sheath or thermoelements or conductors are comprised of refractory metals, that are tested in a dry and chemically inert environment, and that may employ compacted ceramic insulating materials other than magnesia (MgO) or alumina (Al2O3). Users of this test method should note that specifications dealing with compacted ceramic insulating materials other than magnesia or alumina, which are described in Specification E1652, are not currently available. As a result, acceptance criteria must be agreed upon between the customer and supplier at the time of purchase, or alternatively, judgment and experience must be applied in establishing test voltage levels and acceptable insulation resistance values for these types of thermocouples and MIMS cables.

1.3 This test method may be used for thermocouples or MIMS cables having an outside diameter of 0.5 mm (0.020 in.) or larger.

1.4 Users of this test method should be aware that the room temperature insulation resistance of a mineral-insulated, metal-sheathed thermocouple or MIMS cable will change during shipment, storage, or use if they are not properly sealed.

1.5 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard. The values given in parentheses are for information only.

1.6 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, health, and environmental practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.

1.7 This international standard was developed in accordance with internationally recognized principles on standardization established in the Decision on Principles for the Development of International Standards, Guides and Recommendations issued by the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee.

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Book of Standards Volume: 14.03
Developed by Subcommittee: E20.14
Pages: 5
DOI: 10.1520/E0780-17R21
ICS Code: 17.200.20