The emissivity of stainless steel as presented in the TPRC data book (eds Touloukian & DeWitt), showing that the emissivity of steel can range from about 0.1 to 0.9, a very large spread.
The key factors to bear in mind concerning what determines emissivity:
- the emissivity of metals is strongly dependent on surface condition, the main influences being oxidation and roughness
- clean, polished and oxide-free metals have low emissivity - roughened, oxidised metals have high emissivity
- non-metals are less strongly influenced by surface condition
- spectral and total emissivity generally increase with temperature for metals - emissivity either increases or decreases with temperature for non-metals - emissivity of oxide ceramics is highly influenced by the structure within the sample, as oxide ceramics are semitransparent to infrared radiation
- spectral transmissivity and reflectivity of semi-conducting coatings depends on the band gap and the doping of the material
- spectral transmissivity and reflectivity of selective metal coatings depends on the thickness of the coating
- emissivity of powders depends on the refractive index of the material and the particle size distribution
- a layer of water adsorbed by redistribution from other parts of the measuring apparatus can greatly influence the emissivity (Musilová et al., 2010)
Factors that influence emissivity values
Musilová V. et al., 11th Cryogenics Conference of the IIR, Bratislava, 26 - 29 April 2010.