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A method is described wherein the dielectric constant and conductivity of lossy materials may be determined quickly and conveniently. A sample of the material is incorporated as the dielectric of a capacitor which acts as a load terminating a slotted measuring line. The complex impedance of this load can be determined by the conventional method from the voltage standing-wave ratio and position of the minimum. The inherent limitations of the method restrict its application to medium- and high-loss materials because of the very high standing-wave ratios encountered as the conductivity decreases. However, the dielectric constant alone may be measured for low-loss materials. Standardized components are used throughout, with the exception of the sample holder.