New Guide Helps Replace Mercury Thermometers in Road and Paving Standards

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New Guide Helps Replace Mercury Thermometers in Road and Paving Standards

ASTM International’s committee on road and paving materials (D04) is developing a standard that will support replacing mercury thermometers with appropriate electronic thermometers in the committee’s own standards. 

The new standard (D8055, Guide for Selecting an Appropriate Electronic Thermometer for Replacing Mercury Thermometers in D04 Road and Paving Standards) is a result of efforts by the Interstate Mercury Education and Reduction Clearinghouse (IMERC) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to phase out mercury thermometers because of safety and environmental concerns.

The new standard sorts thermometer options by accuracy requirements, designated temperature ranges, and configuration (height, diameter). It includes a list of useful platinum resistance thermometer (PRT), thermistor, and thermocouple replacement options, and it provides details that are needed when ordering a suitable electronic thermometer. The guide also notes when a particular type of electronic thermometer is not useful for the required temperature range or accuracy.

Specific guidance is provided for determining the minimum required immersion depth and how to conduct a side-by-side comparison of the new electronic thermometer to the historically used mercury thermometer.  “While these procedures do not address all of the more rigorous testing needed to calibrate and certify electronic thermometers, they do provide some basic guidance to assess the ability of potential replacement thermometers that duplicate mercury thermometer temperature requirement,” says ASTM International member Mary Stroup-Gardiner, chairman of the task group that developed the new standard. 

Stroup-Gardiner says that while the list of replacement options is based on the experience of the road and paving committee, other committees that use mercury thermometers in their standards may also find this standard useful.

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ASTM Committee D04 on Road and Paving Standards Next Meeting: June 13-15, 2017, June Committee Week, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Technical Contact: Mary Stroup-Gardiner, tel +1.831.324.4032 
ASTM Staff Contact: Ashley Wiand, tel +1.610.832.9551 

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