NIST Seminar – N01 (Monday 3/10 – Wednesday 3/12 8:00AM – 5:00PM) REGISTER NOW
N01: Selection, Calibration, and Use of Contact Thermometers – 3 days

Presenters:  Dawn Cross, Michal Chojnacky, Karen Garrity

NIST, Process Measurements Division


In this seminar, we will discuss contact thermometers commonly used in industry for applications that use platinum resistance thermometers, thermistors, thermocouples, and liquid-in-glass thermometers.

Lecture topics covered will include:

  • Thermometer overview of each type, characteristics, and expected uncertainties;
  • Selecting a thermometer for a specific application;
  • Creating a calibration uncertainty budget and a temperature measurement uncertainty budget,
  • Selecting and using alternative digital thermometers (e.g. replacing mercury thermometers),
  • Digital thermometers for cold chain monitoring of vaccines,
  • Calibration techniques and measurement validation methods,
  • Alternatives to traditional calendar recall dates for recalibration,
  • Statistical process control and maintaining traceability to NIST,
  • The step-by-step development of a Scope of Accreditation (e.g. uncertainty budgets) for different temperature calibration services,
  • An assessor’s point of view during an on-site technical assessment, and
  • Proficiency tests for achieving accreditation.

Laboratory session will include:

  • Using digital thermometers
  • Using an ice melting to check the calibration status of your thermometer
  • Determining the uncertainty of a dry-well block calibrator
  • Exploring the measurement differences and uncertainties between alternative thermometers

For additional technical information, contact:

Dawn Cross,, 301-975-4822

Michal Chojnacky,, 301-975-4821
Karen Garrity,, 301-975-4818


Seminar Developers Biography:

Mrs. Dawn Cross has worked at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the Thermometry Group since 1994. Mrs. Cross is responsible for the Industrial Thermometer

Calibration Laboratory (ITCL) calibration of industrial platinum resistance thermometers, thermocouples, thermistors, and liquid-in-glass thermometers over the range of -196 °C to 550 °C. As part of her responsibility for the ITCL, Mrs. Cross maintains the NIST quality system documentation and measurement assurance to maintain compliance with the NIST QMs and ISO/IEC 17025. Mrs. Cross started being a NVLAP assessor in 2005 for NIST and 2008 for outside laboratories.


When not performing calibrations, Mrs. Cross performs temperature research related to the uncertainty of industrial thermometer calibrations and finding alternatives to Hg-in-glass thermometers. Additionally, Mrs. Cross performs NIST technical assessments covering the areas of temperature (contact and non-contact), ceramics, pressure and vacuum and fluid flow.

In order to maintain visibility and protect the interests of NIST and U.S. industry, Mrs. Cross serves on several national standards committees within ASTM E20 (Thermometry) and committees within NIST. She is the Sub-Chairman for ASTM E20.05 Thermometers and Hydrometers, the Membership Secretary for ASTM E20, and a member of ASTM D.02 Petroleum Committee. Mrs. Cross is also the Division Safety Representative and a member of the Environmental Management Services Committee.

Membership on the ASTM committees is used to help write thermometry standards and guidance documents for U.S. industry, while the NIST positions are used to help NIST technical staff find suitable replacements for Hg-in-glass thermometers.

Mrs. Dawn Cross attends Continuing education courses at Montgomery College, MD.

Mrs. Cross has taught courses at the Measurement Science Conference, March 2010, covering SPRT’s, LiG’s, PRT’s, Thermistors, Assessing Labs.

Assessor training received from Pi Group, NVLAP, and PMD Quality Manager.


Ms. Chojnacky has worked in the NIST Thermodynamic Metrology group since 2009, where she is responsible for realizing, maintaining, and disseminating the International Temperature Scale of 1990 from the Ar TP (83.8 K) to the Ag FP (1234.9 K). She provides customers from industry and NMIs with standard platinum resistance thermometer calibrations, fixed-point cell certifications, NVLAP proficiency testing, and other inter-laboratory comparison tests. She is currently piloting CCT Key Comparison No 9: Realizations of the ITS-90 from 83.8 K to 692.7 K.

Ms. Chojnacky conducts research on the properties of SPRTs as well as methods for proper cold-storage and temperature monitoring of vaccines. She has published four papers from the results her vaccine storage studies, covering topics such as a thermal analysis of various refrigeration systems and their efficacy for vaccine storage, safe cold storage and handling practices, and accurate temperature monitoring. She has been invited to share her findings in presentations at Centers for Disease Control-sponsored conferences and continuing education courses.

Ms. Chojnacky is also the instructor for the NIST ITS-90 Fixed Point Cell Mini Workshop, in which participants from industry and national calibration laboratories learn proper SPRT handling practices, fixed-point realization techniques, and uncertainty budget calculations in an intensive 2-day, hands-on laboratory course.

Ms. Chojnacky has a bachelor’s degree in physics from George Washington University, where she also worked for one year as an undergraduate fellow designing and building optical-tweezers apparatus.


Mrs. Garrity has performed thermocouple calibrations and research in the NIST thermocouple laboratory for 16 years. She is a technical assessor for the NIST Sensor Science Division.

Mrs. Garrity’s duties include calibrations of noble metal thermocouples, base metal thermocouples, and refractory metal thermocouples by comparison and fixed-point methods. She is also responsible for building freezing-point cells for the laboratory. She has led several international thermocouple comparisons as well as providing thermocouple proficiency tests for NVLAP.

Mrs. Garrity has published papers on thermocouple performance and uncertainties, thermocouple comparison, and improved furnace designs. She actively participates in ASTM (American Society of Testing and Materials). Mrs. Garrity has taught at the SIM Metrology School and at the NIST MSC tutorials on the use of thermometers.

Mrs. Garrity received a B.S. and M.S. in Chemistry from the University of Maryland.