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Journal of Research


of the National Bureau of Standards

The National Bureau of Standards' was established by an act of Congress on March 3, 1901. The Bureau's overall goal is to strengthen and advance the Nation's science and technology and facilitate their effective application for public benefit. To this end, the Bureau conducts research and provides: (1) a basis for the Nation's physical measurement system, (2) scientific and technological services for industry and government, (3) a technical basis for equity in trade, and (4) technical services to promote public safety. The Bureau's technical work is performed by the National Measurement Laboratory, the National Engineering Laboratory, and the Institute for Computer Sciences and Technology.

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THE NATIONAL MEASUREMENT LABORATORY provides the national system of physical and chemical and materials measurement; coordinates the system with measurement systems of other nations and furnishes essential services leading to accurate and uniform physical and chemical measurement throughout the Nation's scientific community, industry, and commerce; conducts materials research leading to improved methods of measurement, standards, and data on the properties of materials needed by industry, commerce, educational institutions, and Government; provides advisory and research services to other Government agencies; develops, produces, and distributes Standard Reference Materials; and provides calibration services. The Laboratory consists of the following centers:

Absolute Physical Quantities? – Radiation Research – Thermodynamics and Molecular Science – Analytical Chemistry – Materials Science.

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Execulive Editors
Donald R. Johnson

(Natl. Measurement Lab.) John W. Lyons

(Natl. Engineering Lab.) Managing Editor Churchill Eisenhart

(Mathematics) Other Members

John W. Cooper (Physics)
Sharon G. Lias (Chemistry)
Donald G. Eitzen (Engineering)
Howard J. M. Hanley (Boulder Lab.)

THE NATIONAL ENGINEERING LABORATORY provides technology and technical services to the public and private sectors to address national needs and to solve national problems, conducts research in engineering and applied science in support of these efforts; builds and maintains competence in the necessary disciplines required to carry out this research and technical service; develops engineering data and measurement capabilities; provides engineering measurement traceability services; develops test methods and proposes engineering standards and code changes, develops and proposes new engineering practices; and develops and improves mechanisms to transfer results of its research to the ultimate user. The Laboratory consists of the following centers:

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Applied Mathematics – Electronics and Electrical Engineering’ – Mechanical
Engineering and Process Technology – Building Technology – Fire Research –

Consumer Product Technology – Field Methods. THE INSTITUTE FOR COMPUTER SCIENCES AND TECHNOLOGY conducts research and provides scientific and technical services to aid Federal agencies in the selection, acquisition, application, and use of computer technology to improve effectiveness and economy in Government operations in accordance with Public Law 89-306 (40 U.S.C. 759), relevant Executive Orders, and other directives; carries out this mission by managing the Federal Information Processing Standards Program, developing Federal ADP standards guidelines, and managing Federal participation in ADP voluntary standardization activities; provides scientific and technological advisory services and assistance to Federal agencies; and provides the technical foundation for computer-related policies of the Federal Government. The Institute consists of the following centers:

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Programming Science and Technology – Computer Systems Engineering.


The Journal of Research of the National Bureau of Standards reports NBS research and development in those disciplines of the physical and engineering sciences in which the Bureau is active. These include physics, chemistry, engineering, mathematics, and computer sciences. Papers cover a broad range of subjects, with major emphasis on measurement methodology, and the basic technology underlying standardization. Also included from time to time are survey articles on topics closely related to the Bureau's technical and scientific programs. As a special service to subscribers each issue contains complete citations to all recent NBS publications in NBS and non-NBS media. Issued six times a year. Annual subscriptions: domestic $18.00; foreign $22.50. Single copy, $4.25 domestic; $5.35 foreign.

'Headquarters and Laboratories at Gaithersburg, MD, unless otherwise noted; mailing address Washington, DC 20234 Some divisions within the center are located at Boulder, CO 80303.


Malcolm Baldrige, Secretary NATIONAL BUREAU OF STANDARDS

Ernest Ambler, Director

Order all publications from the Superintendent of Documents U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402 The Secretary of Commerce has determined that the publication of the periodical is necessary in the transaction of the public business required by law of this Department. I of funds for printing this periodical has been approved by the Director of the Office of Management and Budget through April 1, 1985.

JOURNAL OF RESEARCH of the National Bureau of Standards

Vol. 88, No. 1, January-February 1983


In these times of proliferation of technical journals and early signs of electronic data bases in lieu of or in addition to regular journals, the National Bureau of Standards has given renewed thought to the future of its Journal of Research. The Journal has taken many forms since it first appeared (as the Bulletin) in 1904. In the early days, the Journal contained mostly papers on measurement science and the realization of the international physical standards. Typical titles from those times are “Recomparison of the United States Prototype Meter" by L.A. Fischer (Vol. 1, No. 1) and “The Absolute Measurement of Inductance" by E. B. Rosa and F. W. Grover (Vol. 1, No. 2). As science and technology expanded so did the Bureau's work and the subject matter of the Journal came to include topics in many branches of physics, chemistry, engineering, and mathematics. But so too did scientific and technical journals proliferate and Bureau scientists and engineers increasingly have published their work in specialized, archival journals. What then is the particular role of the Journal of Research?

The Journal should reflect the special mission of the National Bureau of Standards. Our work is focused on the science of measurement. We pay unusually careful attention to devising instruments capable of making the most accurate and precise measurements. We bend every effort to know the uncertainty of our measurements. We build mathematical models of the phenomena we measure to develop the best predictive relations possible. We go to great lengths to supply critically evaluated data and well-characterized reference materials. We offer calibrations and measurement assurance programs to a wide variety of clients. The Journal of Research should reflect these activities.

There are many other important activities at NBS ranging from basic research in the physical, chemical, and engineering sciences to technical support for codes and product standards. This work is normally reported in various other NBS publications and in the technical journals. We shall not try to encompass it in the Journal, but shall include basic research that is directly related to measurement. Since NBS publishes separately the Journal of Physical and Chemical Reference Data, we shall not include tabulations of data in the Journal of Research but we shall from time to time present papers on developments in measurement science in the reference data area.

We expect that papers in the Journal will be strong on details of instrumentation, on characterizing measurement processes, and on the mathematics necessary to analyze results. The present issue is the first deliberately focused on measurement science. Its four papers relate to three

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