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Cryogenics and Fluids Branch

References for More Information

For basic data on boiling points and melting points, see the CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, published each year by the Chemical Rubber Company, Cleveland, Ohio.

On the rest of this page is a list of books, starting with elementary introductions and working up to textbooks and reference works. For other types of information, check these pages:

Here are some sources of further information. Some are elementary, others are standard reference works.

The elementary works are those I could find in the Goddard library, so it's not an exhaustive list.

The older books will not have information on current hot topics, such as low temperature superconductors -- that's the nature of a changing field.

Before I list the strictly elementary books, here's one that's both elementary and advanced: it's both a good elementary introduction for beginners and an excellent review and history for professionals or advanced students:

Elementary Introduction and Historical Review

Mendelssohn, K., The Quest for Absolute Zero; the meaning of low temperature physics, World University Library, Weidenfeld & Nicholson, London, 1966.
Excellent history of and introduction to cryogenics. Interesting reading for the beginner and profesional alike.

Elementary Introductions

Simple language, no equations, but much interesting information.

Allen, Richard J., Cryogenics, J.B. Lippincott, NY, 1964
A good introduction. Starts with elementary ideas, covers many basic concepts, including absolute zero, superfluidity, and superconductivity.

Sittig, Marshall, Cryogenics, Research and Applications, D. Van Nostrand, Princeton, NJ, 1963.
Another good introduction, using simple terms. Starts with discussions of the physics and technology. Includes sections on history and applications.

A Bit More Advanced

Some equations, but still accessible to the non-cryogenics specialist.

Kent, Anthony Experimental Low-Temperature Physics, American Institute of Physics, New York, 1993.
A good recent, brief survey of the field. Includes discussions of the phenomena, especially of liquid helium, and descriptions of the technology used to reach low temperatures. I have a copy of this in my personal library, and before I wrote the discussion of superfluid helium on this website, I reviewed Kent's treatment of the subject.

MacKinnon, Lachlan, Experimental Physics at Low Temperatures, Wayne Statte University Press, Detroit, 1966.
High school students might read the beginning and understand it. However, the book soon becomes more technical. The later sections assume a knowledge of calculus. It is written for the non-specialist.

Books for Practicing Cryogenicists: General Works

Barron, Randall, Cryogenic Systems 2nd Ed., Oxford University Press, New York, 1985.
This book covers a wide range of topics, including properties of materials at low temperatures, liquid helium, cooling systems, and vacuum systems. (Vacuum systems are important in cryogenics because Dewar flasks ("Thermos bottles") use vacuum insulation.)

Edeskuty, F.J., and Stewart, W.F., Safety in the Handling of Cryogenic Fluids, The International Cryogenics Monograph Series, New York, Plenum Press, 1996.
This book deals with a wide variety of hazards associated with cryogenics, some obvious, some more obscure.

Lounasmaa, O. V., Experimental Principles and Methods Below 1 K, New York, Academic Press, 1974.
This is one of the standard reference works.

Pobell, Frank, Matter and Methods at Low Temperatures, second edition, Berlin, Springer, 1996.
In its 300-some pages, this book covers the field of experimental cryogenics, with particular empasis on temperatures below one Kelvin. It describes most of the common techniques for reaching low temperatures, such as He3 cryostats, dilution refrigerators, and adiabatic demagnetization refrigerators, and also covers the problems of thermometry. While providing important experimental detail, it also gives a very useful background on the properties of matter at low temperature. This book would be useful for anyone working in subkelvin cryogenics.

Richardson, Robert C., and Smith, Eric N., Experimental Techniques in Condensed Matter Physics at Low Temperatures ("Frontiers in Physics" series, D. Pines, ed.), New York, Addison-Wesley, 1988.
This book is a valuable resource for anyone who needs to build cryogenic equipment that actually works. It has a lot of nuts-and-bolts details which will come in handy to graduate students and other technicians. The book is based on a series of graduate student lectures given at Cornell and preserves the informal and opinionated nature of those lectures.

Scott, Russell B., Cryogenic Engineering, D. Van Nostrand, Princeton, 1959.
This book focuses on the equipment and techniques used in building and operating cyrogenic systems. Though old, it is still useful.

White, Guy K., Experimental Techniques in Low-Temperature Physics Third Edition, Oxford University Press, New York, 1979.
This book for practicing cyrogenicists is old, but it's so good it keeps being updated and republished. The focus is on the equipment that cryogenicists use in the laboratory.


Rose-Innes, A.C., and Rhoderick, E.H., Introduction to Superconductivity, Second Edition, (International Series in Solid State Physics, Vol 6), New York, Pergamon Press, 1978.
I personally like this book because it begins by discussing the observed physical phenomena, rather than by first writing down a wave function, then deriving the phenomena. Wave functions do show up, but only after the authors have discussed the macroscopic electrical, magnetic, and thermodynamic properties. The bulk of the book discusses Type I superconductivity, with a shorter section at the end on Type II. Although this book is too old to contain information on high temperature superconductivity, the low temperature type which it describes is still important, technologically.

Tinkham, Michael Introduction to Superconductivity, second edition, New York, McGraw-Hill, 1996. (Also available in a Dover edition.)
This book focuses on the phenonmena and theory, rather than on experimental practice.

Wilson, Martin, Superconducting Magnets Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1983.
A useful book for anyone who works with superconducting magnets. It includes simple methods for apporoximating the field of a magnet coil. It also discusses heating effects in superconducting magnets. (Although the big advantage of superconducting magnets is their lack of resistive heating, they do produce heat while the current is changing.) The book also discusses the problem of quenching (when a supercoducting magnet suddenly transitions to normal.) The discussion of materials for superconducting wire does not include high temperature superconductors, since they weren't available when the book was written. That field hasn't yet settled down enough that anyone could write a book on it.

Helium Cryogenics

For numerical data on helium properties, see:

NIST Technical Note 1334, Thermophysical Properties of Helium-4 from 0.8 to 1500 K with Pressures to 2000 MPa, by Vincent D. Arp and Robert. D. McCarty, November 1989.

For more theoretical treatments, see:

Reference Data

See above for helium refrence data.

Childs, Gregg E.; Ericks, Lewis J.; Powell, Robert L.; Thermal Conductivity of Solids At Room Temperature and Below National Bureau of Standards Monograph 131, National Bureau of Standards, 1973.
National Bureau of Standards (NBS) has since been renamed National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). NBS 131 remains useful. It is, however, a bit confusing to use at times. In some cases, curves for various materials are shown on the same graph. Also, the explanations of which curves represent which materials may be a few pages away from the the graphs themselves. Despite this inconvenience, the book is quite useful.

Touloukian, Y.S., series editor, Thermophysical Properties of Matter: The TPRC Data Series, Thermophysical Properties Research Center, Purdue University; IFI/Plenum, New York, 1970-1977.
In this series, the presentation of data is particularly clear: graphs and materials identifications are close together and easy to relate. For many curves, the actual data points are given.
Though unfortunately out of print, most of the following list is available as xerographic reprints from Bell & Howell Learning and Information, PO Box 1346, Ann Arbor Michigan 48106, (800) 521-3042.

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