Difference between revisions of "Milestone-Proposal:Self-regulating Trace Heater"

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1972 AutoTrace brochure 72
1972 AutoTrace brochure 72
|supporting materials=Many Available
|supporting materials=[[Media:US3861029 Autotrace.pdf|One of first self-regulating patents]]
[[Media:PES-IAS-Calgary-Seminar-Rev-6 Hulett.pdf|Presentation showing IEEE 515 and 844 standards. These are industry created standards supporting a critical technology for Process Plants, Snow Melting, Freeze protection of piping. All the self-regulating technologies help save many Megawatt hours of energy use every year. ]]
[[Media:IEEE 1991 Paper 1 Transadtions.pdf|IEEE Transactions Paper]]
[[Media:Heat tracing Market Forecast 2017.pdf|Market forecast showing Self-regulating is the most used electrical heat tracing]]
[[Media:First Autotrace Paper.pdf|IEEE 1972 Self-Regulating Paper, describing Technology]]
[[Media:Billion Ft Press Release - FINAL.pdf|Press Release for 1 Billion Feet]]
[[Media:US3793716.pdf ]]

Revision as of 14:42, 22 March 2018

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Docket #:2017-10

This Proposal has been approved, and is now a Milestone

To the proposer’s knowledge, is this achievement subject to litigation? No

Is the achievement you are proposing more than 25 years old? Yes

Is the achievement you are proposing within IEEE’s designated fields as defined by IEEE Bylaw I-104.11, namely: Engineering, Computer Sciences and Information Technology, Physical Sciences, Biological and Medical Sciences, Mathematics, Technical Communications, Education, Management, and Law and Policy. Yes

Did the achievement provide a meaningful benefit for humanity? Yes

Was it of at least regional importance? Yes

Has an IEEE Organizational Unit agreed to pay for the milestone plaque(s)? Yes

Has an IEEE Organizational Unit agreed to arrange the dedication ceremony? Yes

Has the IEEE Section in which the milestone is located agreed to take responsibility for the plaque after it is dedicated? Yes

Has the owner of the site agreed to have it designated as an IEEE Milestone? Yes

Year or range of years in which the achievement occurred:


Title of the proposed milestone:

Invention of the Conductive Polymer Self-Regulating Heater 1972

Plaque citation summarizing the achievement and its significance:

On this site in 1973 the first commercial production of AutoTrace, a self-regulating heater, was produced by Raychem Corporation. In 2008, the 1 billionth foot of this heater was produced. The self-regulating heater revolutionized the process piping temperature maintenance and made freeze protection of water pipes simple and energy efficient.

In what IEEE section(s) does it reside?

Santa Clara California

IEEE Organizational Unit(s) which have agreed to sponsor the Milestone:

IEEE Organizational Unit(s) paying for milestone plaque(s):

Unit: {{{Unit}}}
Senior Officer Name: {{{Senior officer name}}}

IEEE Organizational Unit(s) arranging the dedication ceremony:

IEEE section(s) monitoring the plaque(s):

Milestone proposer(s):

Please note: your email address and contact information will be masked on the website for privacy reasons. Only IEEE History Center Staff will be able to view the email address.

Street address(es) and GPS coordinates of the intended milestone plaque site(s):

2555 Bay Road, Redwood City California

Describe briefly the intended site(s) of the milestone plaque(s). The intended site(s) must have a direct connection with the achievement (e.g. where developed, invented, tested, demonstrated, installed, or operated, etc.). A museum where a device or example of the technology is displayed, or the university where the inventor studied, are not, in themselves, sufficient connection for a milestone plaque.

Please give the address(es) of the plaque site(s) (GPS coordinates if you have them). Also please give the details of the mounting, i.e. on the outside of the building, in the ground floor entrance hall, on a plinth on the grounds, etc. If visitors to the plaque site will need to go through security, or make an appointment, please give the contact information visitors will need. Manufacturing Comples still making the product named in the historical site

No other historical markers.

Are the original buildings extant?


Details of the plaque mounting:

To Be determined, multiple plaques probable.

How is the site protected/secured, and in what ways is it accessible to the public?

Who is the present owner of the site(s)?


What is the historical significance of the work (its technological, scientific, or social importance)?

The idea of conductive polymers was in its infancy and researchers at Raychem looked at silicones and polyolefins as a possible matrix with carbon black infused into the matrix for conductivity. Radiation chemistry was critical to the repeatability of the heating cooling system as shown in the IEEE paper in this package. The circuit was elegant, parallel wires with a positive temperature coefficient matrix between the wires. As the temperature increased, the local resistance increased lowering the heat generation at that specific location. What you had was basically a distributed temperature sensor controlling each section of the heater independently. The product was also cut to length in the field. The solution in 1971 for heating pipes was MI Cable which was manufactured to a specific length in a factory. As one would expect, the field as built piping was never quite the drawing estimates and returns for a different length were common.

What obstacles (technical, political, geographic) needed to be overcome?

Conductive polymer PTC (Positive Temperature Coefficient) tests were made by loading polymers with conductive elements, usually metal powders or carbon black. The resistance change was one way, the resistance went up and never came back. This was solved by radiation crosslinking the polymer which "pulled" the polymer back to the original shape when the temperature decreased. Radiation crosslinking was the secrete.

What features set this work apart from similar achievements?

No conductive polymer had ever been able to cycle to different temperatures and return to its original resistance.

Supporting texts and citations to establish the dates, location, and importance of the achievement: Minimum of five (5), but as many as needed to support the milestone, such as patents, contemporary newspaper articles, journal articles, or chapters in scholarly books. 'Scholarly' is defined as peer-reviewed, with references, and published. You must supply the texts or excerpts themselves, not just the references. At least one of the references must be from a scholarly book or journal article. All supporting materials must be in English, or accompanied by an English translation.

IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON INDUSTRY APPLICATIONS, VOL. IA-9, NO. 4, JULY/AUGUST 1973 Some Aspects of a Self-Limiting Resistive Electric Heating Element JOSEPH A. OAKES AND CHET L. SANDBERG

US 3861029 AutoTrace Patent

IEEE 515 Standard for the Testing, Design, Installation, and Maintenance of Electrical Resistance Heat Tracing for Industrial Applications 1997

TYCO THERMAL CONTROLS CELEBRATES AN INDUSTRY FIRST - One Billion Feet of Raychem Self-Regulating Heat-Tracing Cable Manufactured and Sold March 14, 2008

1972 AutoTrace brochure 72

Supporting materials (supported formats: GIF, JPEG, PNG, PDF, DOC): All supporting materials must be in English, or if not in English, accompanied by an English translation. You must supply the texts or excerpts themselves, not just the references. For documents that are copyright-encumbered, or which you do not have rights to post, email the documents themselves to ieee-history@ieee.org. Please see the Milestone Program Guidelines for more information.

One of first self-regulating patents

Presentation showing IEEE 515 and 844 standards. These are industry created standards supporting a critical technology for Process Plants, Snow Melting, Freeze protection of piping. All the self-regulating technologies help save many Megawatt hours of energy use every year.

IEEE Transactions Paper

Market forecast showing Self-regulating is the most used electrical heat tracing

IEEE 1972 Self-Regulating Paper, describing Technology

Press Release for 1 Billion Feet


Please email a jpeg or PDF a letter in English, or with English translation, from the site owner(s) giving permission to place IEEE milestone plaque on the property, and a letter (or forwarded email) from the appropriate Section Chair supporting the Milestone application to ieee-history@ieee.org with the subject line "Attention: Milestone Administrator." Note that there are multiple texts of the letter depending on whether an IEEE organizational unit other than the section will be paying for the plaque(s).