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THEORY OF, AND APPROPRIATE METHODS FOR MEASUREMENT OF

SURFACE EMITTANCE
BY L. P. HERRINGTON1

SYNOPSIS
Current interest in the measurement of infrared heat emission and absorption of structural materials is discussed. Distinctions between the emission characteristics of materials in the visible and heat radiation regions of
the spectrum are made. The terminology of radiation exchange is reviewed
from the standpoint of simplicity and usefulness in a standardized test suitable for use with structural materials as non-incandescent temperature radiators. Basic laws of radiation exchange are briefly reviewed. On the basis
of the foregoing considerations, the plan 'oi an apparatus construction for
surface ^mittance measurement in the 0 to 300 F range is described.

ment in the long infrared region has been


prepared.

Many different types of insulating


materials are available which are faced
with reflective foil intended to retard
heat flow by radiation. In addition, there
are a number of metal foil products which
rely solely upon this property for insulating value. In recent months the concept
of insulation by radiation barriers has
been carried to the extreme. case in a
house which, by design theory, attempts
to generate, distribute, and confine heat
by reliance on radiation principles. A
recently developed flying suit, compounded of seven layers of evaporation
coated aluminum fabric with interleaves,
has been shown to provide substantial
insulation with reduced bulk.
Aside from these more or less novel
applications of radiation insulation, there
is increasing need for a wider range of
heat emission or reflection data on building materials in specialized applications
which involve more precise calculation of
heat flow than is customary in heating
practice. For these reasons the present
report on radiant heat emission measure-

Visual Reflectivity
Reflectivity:

and Long

Infrared

This discussion must be prefaced by a


clear statement of the kind and character
of the radiation properties with which it
is concerned, since much confusion exists
as to the meaning of the term "imdiation"
when used in connection with insulating
materials.
The radiation behavior with which we
are here concerned may be tentatively
restricted to that characteristic of sources
at temperatures within the range of 0 to
300 F which is the long infrared region of
the spectrum. Physiologically, human
beings respond to this radiation as heat
rather than light, and physically, it is
identified in terms of the wavelength of
maximum energy for a black body
radiator at a specified temperature within
the 0 to 300 F range. For a material at
100 F, this peak energy would occur at
a wavelength of approximately 9.3 ft
(0.009 cm). This 100 F is the approximate temperature of the human body. It

i Director of Research. John B. Pierce Laboratory


of Hygiene, New Haven, Conn.

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SYMPOSIUM ON THERMAL INSULATING MATERIALS

is therefore clear that we are all black


light radiators, emitting and receiving
relatively large amounts of invisible
radiant energy hi this range.
This human concern with the long
infrared region is indirectly the reason
why this report is being written. In
Fig. 1, a picture of the partitional
calorimeter at the Pierce Foundation is
shown. This calorimeter is an aluminum-

efficients' of the human body for both


convective and radiative processes. An
essential part of the experimental derivation of these heat transfer coefficients for
the human body is the measurement of
long infrared radiation. This is accomplished, both for the human skin and the
metal surfaces, by use of a thermopile,
the handle and collection tube of which
is partly visible (Fig. 1) on the table at

FIG. 1.Partitional Calorimeter (John B. Pierce Laboratory of Hygiene) Showing Reflective


Surfaces, Inlet Port (behind scale operator) for Heat Radiation, and Thermopile (on table at
extreme right). General equipment is used for separation of human radiant heat exchange from
other fractions of heat loss.

surfaced experimental room, with a


temperature range of 150 F in air temperature. In addition, the effective radiation
temperature of the enclosure may be
varied independently over a range of
180 F by surface reflection of radiant
energy from localized infrared heat
sources. The subject seated in the metal
chair is in process of having a complete
heat balance determined. The problem
is to determine the heat exchange co-

the extreme right. The details of this


human thermal engineering cannot be
described here. Complete description is
available in published reports of this research (I).2 The purpose in illustrating
this technical set-up involving long infrared measurement is to emphasize three
points:
1. The fact that the visible reflective
2
The boldface numbers in parentheses refer to the
list of references appended to this paper, see p. 26.

HERRINGTON ON MEASUREMENT OF SURFACE EMrrxANCE


character of the walls of this calorimeter
bears no necessary relationship to their
infrared reflectivity. It merely happens
that aluminum js a good reflector and
poor emitter for both dark radiation and
visible radiation.
2. The speculator mirror-like character is also incidental. Scarification of
these surfaces will destroy the image
character within the visible, but has no
material effect on the infrared reflective
property. This fact reminds one to avoid
concluding that a material highly reflective to the eye is necessarily a good
radiation barrier in the 0 to 300 F temperature range.
3. Attention is called to the fact that,
although this 19-year old subject clearly
has a white body, in these experiments he
enters into the long infrared radiation
exchange of the area as practically a
perfect black body. In other words, his
skin is just as effective in absorbing the
long-wave infrared as a black cloth
would be in absorbing visible radiation.
SPECTRAL AND TOTAL ENERGY
Absolute and Relative Measurements of
Reflected and Emitted Heat Energy:

There are in general two approaches


to the problem of describing the radiation
property of a surface. The most complete
physical method is to maintain the
surface at a standard temperature and to
measure energy at each separate wavelength over the effective range of its
temperature spectrum. With appropriate
consideration of the geometry of the
emitting surface and the receiver, one
may determine the absolute energy exchange and the qualitative spectrum of
the source. As an alternate method, a
non-selective black body receiver may be
used which responds to the total energy
emission of the source, and this energy
value may be expressed as a fraction of
the emission from a perfect black body
radiator at the same temperature..

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The differences in these procedures


arise from the fact that detailed spectral
data may or may not be of interest, and
that emission rate can be expressed
either as the rate of energy emission per
unit area of surface or as a percentage of
the black body standard at the same
temperature as the test object. Generally
speaking, however, description of the
emission of a given surface as a percentage of perfect black body surface
emission at the same temperature is
common practice, and for most applications of interest to this group, infrared
spectral data are not of major interest.
Since the ami of this report is a rapid
comparison method for the long infrared
heat emission, with limited but definite
and practical meaning, no particular
purpose will be served by treating the
problem in a manner fully comparable to
that required in the visible region. As a
matter of record, however, several distinctions should be noted in terminology.
First, an emissiyity is conventionally
used to refer to emission characteristics
of a material, with factors of opaqueness
and surface condition controlled. Hence,
in the visual field an emissivity measurement describes emission from a polished
and opaque specimen. Subjectively,
specular or mirror reflection is a partial
cue to polish, and visible light transmission a cue to opaque character, both
properties being susceptible of objective
definition. In the heat radiation or long
infrared region, subjective cues to degree
of polish or degree of opaqueness tend to
disappear.
This suggests a second point, namely,
that emittance, which hi the visual field
describes the radiant energy emission of a
test body rather than a material, is the
convenient term for our interests. Practically, this means that in comparing
heat emission or-reflection of products,
we measure the test hem without con^

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SiatposroM ON THERMAL INSULATING MATERIALS*

trolling the properties of opaqueness and none of the radiation falling on it. In the
surface roughness.
visual field, actual visible blackness is a
In regard to the term reflectivity and cue to this property, but for heat rays,
its correlate, absorptivity, it is pointed radio waves, or other regions of the
out that in the visual region, reflectivity electromagnetic spectrum, visual blackand absorptivity are, respectively, the ness is not necessarily correlated with
ratios of rates of reflection or absorption high absorbing ability. With this basic
of radiant energy by opaque polished information experimenters soon estabsurfaces hi relation to incident radiant lished a number of generalizations.
energy on the surface, and have subjecStefan and Boltzmann demonstrated
tive correlates in visual sensation. The that black bodies do not radiate heat in
numerically complementary nature of proportion to temperature but hi proporthe terms arises from the fact that all tion to the 4th power of absolute temperincident energy is either reflected or ab- ature. Equation 1 describes this fact:
sorbed. For practical comparisons of the
heat emission, reflection, or absorption
characteristics of a product, the terms
Sigma, the constant hi this equation
emittance, reflectance, and absorbance, which is required to compute g/j, the
can conveniently be used.
black body emission for a given temperAt the present time, the practical need ature, T, is the well known Stefanhi the product field seems to be for a Boltzmann universal constant hi which
rapid comparison method which affords
<r = 5.735 X 10~* erg per sec per sq cm
a good estimate of the relative heat
per deg K*
radiation emittance of a product surface
in relation to a black body standard. or
Before describing a method which ap1.37 X 10~u gm cal per sec per sq
pears to be convenient for this comparicm per deg K*
(2)
son, it will be useful to review briefly
some basic facts on radiation exchange.
To this fundamental relationship
Kirchoff added the deduction known as
Basic Laws of Radiation Exchange:
Kirchoff's law which may be given this
Early investigators noted that hot statement"... at any given temperature
bodies lost heat by essentially two a body which is a good absorber of
methods. Air surrounding the object radiation is also a correspondingly good
became heated, and this loss may be de- radiator of energy."
scribed as conduction-convection. In
One of the fundamental facts noted in.
addition, they noted a further flow of experimental work was that the waveheat to the environment which occurred length of the energy peak in the total
in air but did not depend on the presence radiation spectrum of a black body
of air. This flow of heat to surrounding shifted with its absolute temperature*
surfaces does not depend upon the pres- Theories of classical physics could not
ence of an intervening medium and a hot explain this highly important fact. We
object will lose heat by radiation to a owe to Planck and his quantum concooler one in a vacuum. It was also noted ception the famous radiation law which
that the radiant loss of an object was reconciled this difference. Planck's law
affected by its surface condition, and for black body radiation states that the
this led "to the concept of the black body. amount of energy radiated at waveA "black" body is one which reflects length X and included in the small

HERRINGTON ON MEASUREMENT OF SURFACE EMITTANCE

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spectral range X, is given by the equation,

Average clothing surface temperature at


normal environmental temperatures is
approximately 300 K. With appropriate
regard for units, the single division ^required for solution of Eq 5 yields 9.6 n as
Where:
the wavelength ^>f maximum energy in
Ci = 4.93 X 10~15 (X expressed in cm), the clothing surface radiation.
C2 = 1,432 cm deg, T = absolute
An illustration of this displacement of
temperature, and e = 2.718
wavelength of maximum energy as a
function of radiating body temperature
If X is large, then the minus unit in the
is seen in Fig. 2. In this figure maxima
denominator may be neglected and we
are
displaced to the right as the temperhave
ature of radiation decreases. Thus, the
sun's radiation (T = 6000 K) has its

FIG. 2.__Relation Position in the Spectrum of Radiation from Various Sources.

This relationship is known as Wien's


law. The interest and convenience of
Wien's law for this group is that by a
simple manipulation a relationship may
be found between black body temperature and wavelength of peak energy so
convenient that the engineer may determine this relation by mental calculation.
By differentiation of Eq 4 with respect
to X (holding T constant), it can be
shown that the wavelength of maximum
radiation is
Am.' T = a constant = 0.288 cm deg.. .(5)

This simple formula may be applied to


the radiation from clothing surfaces.

maximum at about 0.5 /*> whereas the


hot stove (T = 1000 K) has a Tna.yirmim
of about 3 ft, and as our previous calculation indicated, the human body (T =
300 K) radiates maximally at about
9.6 n. A consideration of Wien's displacement law will show why one should
expect the sun's radiation to appear
white, that of the stove red, and that of
the human skin to be invisible.
Application of Fundamental Radiation
Relations to a Measurement Situation;
In order to measure radiation emission
from a body, we may do one of two
things. A calorimetric method may be

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SYMPOSIUM ON THERMAL INSULATING MATERIALS-

employed in which all or some specified


portion of the test body's radiation is
captured by an apparatus and measured
as a heat quantity. An apparatus on this
principle might consist of two waterfilled blackened spheres in a vacuum, one
of which receives the unknown radiation,
this body's resultant temperature rise
being matched by action of a calibrated
resistance heater in the second sphere. Of
greater interest for the test requirements
are secondary types of instruments in
which a black body receiver responds to
the radiation with a temperature rise
which may be measured as a deflection in
a suitable circuit. Such receivers are
calibrated by a known source of black
body radiation, and yield, with proper
construction, measurements which are
proportional to the total energy received.
Thermocouples arranged as a multiple
junction pile and blackened, are perhaps
the most convenient example of this
principle. These instruments shield the
cold junctions of the pile from the radiation source. The exposed junctions experience a rise in temperature and for
small temperature changes, the resultant
emf is proportional to the temperature
rise. In association with a galvanometer
selected to give deflection proportional
to current, the measured value resulting
is proportional to the radiation received.
To carry out such a measurement for
emittance determinations on practical
building materials, certain criteria are
desirable:
1. The thermopile used should be
rugged and with sufficient junctions to
yield a relatively large emf on exposure
of the thermopile receiver to radiation
differences such as might obtain with
instrument temperatures of the order of
70 F and object temperatures in the
range from 0 to 300 F.
2. For zero stability and general
operational convenience, the thermopile
should preferably be water-jacketed and

circulated with water at a controlled


temperature.
3. The physical size of the sensitive
receiver and the radiating test surface
should be such that test samples of the
order of 6 in. square may be accommodated and heated to a measured surface temperature.
4. The geometry of the apparatus
arrangement should be such that after
appropriate calibration with test surfaces
of known emittance, test measurements
are subject to direct interpretation as
emittance values.
Before considering these general requirements, it is desirable to extend Eqs
1 to 5, which described the radiation of a
single black body, to include the case of
net radiation exchange between two
black bodies.
The heat transfer by radiation between
parallel black body surfaces of absolute
temperature 7\ and T2, of known area A,
and separated by a small distance is
given by
Since it is propsed to use a flat surfaced
test specimen viewed by a collecting cone
containing at its base a blackened pile,
the equation for this emission is of some
interest and is given by

Equation 7 defines the receipt of


energy from area A, by a cone of solid
angle dl, where A cos 0 is the projected
area of the source and dl/ir is the fraction
of the total heat emitted in direction 0
defined by the element (Kl. The term er is
the emittance averaged over all wavelengths. Further elaboration of these
radiation exchange relations may be
found in references (3), (4), and (5). They
* When emission is not between black bodies, Eq. 6
will include a term representing the product of the two
emittances.

HEKRINGTON ON MEASUREMENT OF SURFACE EMITTANCE


are included here for background completeness. In the apparatus setup to be
described, analysis in terms of these
equations is not necessary.

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metals joined end to end and soldered'at


their outer extremities to copper bars.
When exposed to radiation the middle
junction attains a much higher temper-

FIG. 3.Water Jacketed 80-Element Thermopile and Temperature-Regulated Leslie Cubes


Used as Temperature Reference Sources.

APPARATUS FOR SURFACE


EMITTANCE MEASUREMENTS
Thermopile Unit:
In Fig. 3 the primary measuring instrument is shown hi use as it appears when
removed from the surface emittance test
setup. The sensitive element of this
thermopile is the base portion of a Moll
80-element copper-constantan thermopile
designed for measurement of total radiation. The 80 elements of this surface
type pile are arranged in 3 rows within a
circle 2 cm in diameter. Each element
comprises a pair of strips of different

ature than the outer junctions. Differences hi heat capacity of the junctions,
high conductivity between the junctions,
and the small heat capacity of the middle
junction causes a steady emf to be set up.
The instrument shown hi Fig. 3 was
constructed around this basic Moll unit.
This Moll base, essentially a brass
chamber 4 cm in diameter, 3 cm high,
containing the thermopile construction,
is not water jacketed. Since it was intended to use the pile in atmospheres
ranging from 0 to 120 F, a water-jacketed
cone was constructed. This is the outer
aluminum shell seen in Fig. 3. This shell

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SYMPOSIUM ON THERMAL INSULATING MATERIALS

has a wall thickness of 1.2 cm and overall diameter o 6.2 cm. A cone was
machined out of a solid cylinder to give a
collecting well of 3.8 cm tapering to 2 cm
at a depth of 7 cm. Directly behind this
2-cm opening the pile unit was mounted,
its metal walls seated in a machined
contact with the water-circulated aluminum shell. In the shell proper a watercirculating grid was drilled, providing a
0.8 cm water channel traversing the
length of the cylinder in ten channels
from entry to exit point.

estimate surface emittances of fabrics


and foils is shown.
Complete Unit:
Before describing Fig. 4, the following
comment is in order. The apparatus
shown was first constructed in 1942 to
check the. infrared emittance of clothing
worn by subjects in a partitional calorimeter. As such it was an auxiliary item
in a large experimental program, and
embodied features well known in the
radiation field. It is one version of well-

FIG. 4.Apparatus Used for Surface Emittance Determinations on Various Material (description in text)..

The pile is circulated with water at


constant temperature. In this particular
observation, the two Leslie cubes shown
are maintained IOC apart in temperature, with one at air temperature.
Successive galvanometer deflection readings at each cube establish a calibration
which was, in these particular experiments, used in conjunction with measurements of the radiation temperature of
adjacent black body surfaces which were
within the range 0 to 10 C of air temperature.
This instrument has been found to be
very convenient, and in Fig. 4 its incorporation in an auxiliary setup used to

established principles, and is original


only in details meeting the convenience
of our problems. The publications of
Taylor and Edwards (6), Bedford (7), and
others were inspected at this time, and
various features freely adapted to our
use.
The apparatus is designed to bring the
pile and test surface into fixed orientation, in which the pile receives radiation
from a test or calibration Surface maintained at a known surface temperature.
To accomplish this, the test surface A
was applied to the bottom of a bracketsuspended aluminum water bath built as
a 20-cm cube, C. The bath is variable over

HEERINGTON ON MEASUREMENT or SUHFACE EMITTANCE


a temperature range from room temperature to 100 C. On the surface of the test
sample three fine gage thermocouples
were attached, A, with leads going to a
galvanometer and potentiometer, circuit
indicated at D. The bottom of the cube
is flared with a metal skirt of aluminum
with a central opening approximately the
diameter of the thermopile.
The thermopile, as shown at B was
used in other connections, and this was
one of the reasons leading to modification
of the design described by Taylor and
Edwards hi which the pile unit is more
permanently incorporated into the unit
apparatus. In order to control orientation
of the pile and bath, positioning pegs
were located under B which fixed pile
position relative to the test surface.
Arrangements for maintaining pile temperature consisting of a water reservoir
H and small capacity pump G were provided for. Pile temperature was recorded
from a thermocouple located within the
pile. The response of the pile was consistent and the emf was on the order of
2000 microvolts when a difference of 80 C
existed between the pile elements and the
surface of a black body. For calibration
purposes, metal supporting squares with
varying percentages of the surface covered by matte black paint or commercial
aluminum foil could be applied to the
test area. The balanced sector arrangement of pie-shaped painted areas used by
several earlier investigators was used to
control any small inaccuracies in centering. It was assumed that the emittances
of the foil and black paint surfaces were
of the order of 3 and 95 per cent. The
problem for which this apparatus was
used did not require a more exact standard. It is probable that in application to
test materials where. absolute values
would be of greater interest, more exact
specification of the calibrating surfaces
would be desirable^

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TECHNIQUES OF MEASUREMENT
Electromotive forces in relation to the
surface temperature of calibration plates
varying hi percentages of reflective area
from 0 to 100 per cent were determined
for a constant pile temperature. Utilizing
this primary calibration, the emf recorded from a surface of known temperature and unknown emittance could be
expressed as a simple ratio which provided a serviceable measure of the test
surface emittance relative to black body
emission. Calibration curves for the
particular pile used in these-studies could
be reproduced here, but as the procedure
is a common laboratory operation and
was not extended to any variety of
structural materials, it would not add
materially to the foregoing discussion.
Most of the measurements made with
this apparatus were on fabrics. The
majority of these were black body
radiators in the heat spectrum. Exceptions were metal-coated fabrics which
varied from 25 to 60 per cent of black
body emittance, dependent on the
method of metal film application, those
with evaporated films giving the lower
emittances.
CONCLUSIONS
The apparatus presented here constitutes our present experiencevin this field
and it is offered as a preliminary suggestion relative to emittance test methods.
The apparatus described, when operated
under optimum conditions, vvfos capable
of rather precise deterniuiations which
might or might not be co^icfered of importance in the testing of structural
materials. In the textilefieldthere was no
immediate interpretation of practical
significance for emittance differences of
the order of 5 per cent, hence the sensitivity of the Moll apparatus was not
really required. If grosser measurements
were acceptable, the expense of the above
equipment might be considerably re-

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SYMPOSIUM ON THERMAL INSULATING MATERIALS

duced by substituting one of the cheaper


piles now on the market for the Moll
unit. From a convenience standpoint,

however, the operating characteristics of


the pile and the water-jacketing feature
were found to be of great value.

REFERENCES
(1) C. E. A. Window and L. P. Harrington,
Temperature and Human Life, Princeton
University Press, Princeton, N. J. (1949).
(2) J. D. Hardy and T. W. Oppel, "Studies in
Temperature Sensation," Journal, Clinical
Investigation, Vol. 17, pp. 771-778 (1938).
(3) L. P. Herrington, and J. D. Hardy,
"Temperature and Humidity in Relation to
the Thermal Interchange Between the Human Body and the Environment," Chapter
13, Human Factors in Undersea Warfare,
National Research Council (1949).

(4) J. Strong, Procedures in Experimental Physics,


Prentice and Hall, New York, N. Y. (1936).
(5) E.M.Duggax, Biological Effects of Radiation,
McGraw-Hill Book Company, New York,
N. Y. (1936).
(6) C. S. Taylor and J. D. Edwards, "Some Reflection and Radiation Characteristics of
Aluminum," Transactions, Am. Soc. Heating
and Ventilating Engrs., Vol. 45, pp. 179-194
(1939).
(7) F. A. Bedford, "Reflectometer for All Types
of Reflecting Surfaces," General Electric
Review, Vol. 37, p. 457 (1934).

DISCUSSION
MR. W. H. NiCHOLS.1Almost all of upon these pure sensations, but also
the literature that I have been able to reflect individual judgment as to whether
find specifically refers to the fact that the a pure sensation of coolness or heat is
human sensation of warmth or cold is preferable for a given activity. A convery difficult to determine and hi many stant slight rate of cooling is preferred by
cases impossible. However, what I many for clerical or mental work requirwanted to know is, whether Mr. Herring- ing several hours of sedentary posture.
ton knows of any processes or procedures The same individuals, in the same
that are being followed today to attempt posture for the same period, but unto determine the human sensation of occupied by a task, select an air temperature of maximum comfort which is 5 to
warmth or cold?
MR. L. P. HERRINGTON (author).The 8 F higher, and which involves a slight
bulk of human thermal sensation is ex- gradient of continued skin warming.
Research effort hi climatic hygiene is
perienced within a skin temperature
range from 70 to 95 F. Within this range directed primarily, toward determining
the thermal sensation experienced is the environments which are subjectively
rather exactly correlated with the rate most favorable for different classes of
and direction of thermal gradient changes activity;
MR. NICHOLS.Do you by any chance
within the first millimeter of skin thickness. Increases of temperature at this know whether or not encephalographs
tissue level, at a rate in excess of 0.0064 F have been used successfully or unsuccessper sec, stimulate the heat-sensitive fully hi that effort?
MR. HERRINGTON (author's closure).
thermal receptors located at this depth
hi the skin, ^lightly peripheral to these The response of brain wave patterns of
receptors are cold-sensitive receptors electrical activity to light, sound, heat,
which respond to rates of decrease hi and other sensory stimuli, is currently an
temperature of approximately the same object of research study. A marked
change in pattern occurs with many
order.
4
Generalized perceptions of thermal sensory stimuli. Firm correlations be
comfort or discomfort are built in part tween pattern form and specific subjective reports relative to such factors as
thermal comfort have not yet beetf
i Chief Engineer, H. J. Rand & Associates, Inc.'
established.
Cleveland, Ohio

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