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Fluke Calibrator Video

Emissivity makes a temperature difference for infrared thermometers.

In the YouTube video below, Frank Liebman, an engineer with Fluke Corporation’s Hart Scientific Division demonstrates the impact that surface emissivity has on temperature measurement and temperature calibration using a modified Fluke blackbody calibrator and Fluke Thermal Imager.

We were surprised to see that no one commented on this video, despite an ending that leaves one hanging, at least us, with the obvious question: How do you do a radiometric calibration of a surface of unknown emissivity using a Fluke Blackbody Calibrator?

Do you have any ideas?

Electro Optical Industries BB Emissivity Coatings

Electro Optical Industries (EOI) uses one of two high emissivity coatings on the surface of its blackbodies.

The EOI mid-temperature coating is used on both cavity and flat plate blackbodies that have a maximum operating temperatures of up to 210 °C.

Read the rest by visiting their webpage at:

Blackbody Emissivity Primer

From the Electro-Optical Industries website:

Typical Material Spectral Emissivity

“Effective emissivity is the ratio of the total amount of energy exiting a blackbody to that which is predicted by Planck’s law. This is the value most frequently referred to as “emissivity”.

Effective emissivity of a cavity type blackbody will normally be much higher than the surface emissivity due to the multiple energy bounces inside the body cavity.”

You can read the rest on this useful and informative webpage:

Measurements of Pool-Fire Temperature Using IR Technique. (419 K)

By Qian, C.; Saito, K.

Ref: Combustion Institute/Central and Western States (USA) and Combustion Institute/Mexican National Section and American Flame Research Committee. Combustion Fundamentals and Applications. Joint Technical Meeting. Proceedings. April 23-26, 1995, San Antonio, TX, Gore, J. P., Editor(s), 81-86 pp, 1995.

Sponsor: National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD

We made an attempt to measure the flame temperature of four different diameter hexane-pool-fires using IR technique. Emissivities for these four flames were estimated based on measurements of transmitted energy from a blackbody radiant source. The average flame temperature half way to the flame tip was 700-800 deg C, which was in good agreement with thermocouple-temperature measurements by others for a 3 m diameter hexane pool fire.

Click here to download a pdf version of the report:Measurements of Pool-Fire Temperature Using IR Technique. (419 K)

Building and Fire Research Laboratory
National Institute of Standards and Technology
Gaithersburg, MD 20899 USA


A paper by Sergey Mekhontsev, Vladimir Khromchenko, Alexander Prokhorov, Leonard Hanssen
National Institute for Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, USA

Presented at the 9th International Symposium on Temperature and Thermal Measurements in Industry and Science (TEMPMEKO 2004), June 22-25, 2004, Dubrovnik, Croatia, Proceedings, Vol. 1, ed. by D. Zvizdic (2004), pp. 581-586.


A new facility for the characterization of infrared spectral emittance of materials has recently been developed at NIST. The facility operation is based on measurements of a sample’s spectral radiance and surface temperature with help of a set of variable temperature blackbodies and a spectral comparator. For highest accuracy, variable temperature blackbodies are calibrated in spectral radiance against a pair of fixed-point blackbodies with interchangeable crucibles of In, Sn, and Zn, and Al, Ag, and Cu, respectively. The spectral emissivity of the fixed-point blackbodies also needs to be accurately characterized. We employ a multi-prong approach: (1) Monte Carlo ray-trace modeling and calculations, (2) hemispherical reflectance measurements of the crucible cavity material flat sample, as well as the cavity itself, (3) direct spectral emittance measurements of the same samples using the facility, and (4) comparison of the fixed point blackbodies with each other as well as with variable temperature heat pipe blackbodies, using filter radiometers and the facility’s Fourier transform spectrometer. The Monte Carlo code is used to predict the cavity emissivity with input of the cavity shape and the emissivity and specularity of the cavity material. The reflectance measurements provide emissivity data of both the material and the cavity at room temperature. The results are used to compare with and validate the code results. The direct emittance measurements of the material provide the temperature dependence of the material emittance as code input. The code predicted results for the cavities at their operating temperature (freeze points) are then compared with the relative spectral radiance measurements. Use of this complete set of evaluation tools enables us to obtain the spectral emissivity of the blackbodies with reliably determined uncertainties.

It presently can be downloaded in PDF format from the NIST website by CLICKING HERE