Description: The control system of a replacement mode, twin-bridge, water-bath calorimeter originally built by Mound EG&G Applied Technologies was modified by Argonne National Laboratory. The calorimeter was upgraded with a PC-based computer control and data acquisition system. The system was redesigned to operate in a servo-control mode, and a preheater was constructed to allow pre-equilibration of samples. The instrument was sent to the Plutonium Facility at Los Alamos National Laboratory for testing and evaluation of its performance in the field using heat source standards and plutonium process materials. The important parameters for calorimeter operation necessary to satisfy the nuclear materials control and accountability requirements of the Plutonium Facility were evaluated over a period of several months. These parameters include calorimeter stability, measurement precision and accuracy, and average measurement time. The observed measurement precision and accuracy were found to be acceptable for most accountability measurements, although they were slightly larger than the values for calorimeters in routine use at the Plutonium Facility. Average measurement times were significantly shorter than measurement times for identical items in the Plutonium Facility calorimeters. Unexplained shifts in the baseline measurements were observed on numerous occasions. These shifts could lead to substantial measurement errors if they are not very carefully monitored by the operating facility. Detailed results of the experimental evaluation are presented in this report.
Date: January 1, 1997
Creator: Foster, L.A.
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