In response to numerous inquiries from academia, industry, and other government labs, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST, published a new database on the properties of solid materials at temperatures ranging from cryogenic (as low as 4 K, which is -269 degrees C or -452 degrees F) to room temperature. Officially known as “NIST Standard Reference Data Database #152,” the Cryogenic Materials Properties Database is available online, free of charge. It is also a work in progress, with new materials and properties added as data become available.

Cryogenic temperatures place extreme demands on materials. The properties data have been collected by various organizations over many years, published in various formats such as internal reports, and often have not been publicly available. NIST researchers located the data, evaluated and validated it, resolved any conflicts resulting from different test methods and sources, then re-plotted and correlated the data over a wide temperature range using standardized equations.

The database covers a range of materials from traditional engineering stainless steels to fiberglass epoxy (found in magnetic resonance imaging systems, for example), exotic regenerator materials (used in cryogenic refrigerators), and Kevlar (may be combined with carbon fibers in containers used in space). The materials might be used in medicine (e.g., cryosurgery), energy applications (e.g., storage of liquid methane or liquid natural gas), electronics (e.g., superconducting microwave filters for cellular phones), transportation (e.g., liquid hydrogen fuel storage), space exploration (e.g., fuel storage), environmental research (e.g., thermal mapping and imaging of oceans), weather forecasting (e.g., infrared thermal imaging of the atmosphere), and defense (e.g., infrared guidance systems).

The database is available at