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Aim: To find the time constant of a Thermowell system when subjected to a step change.

Apparatus: 1) Oil bath with a magnetic stirrer


2) Thermowell-It basically consists of a test tube containing thermometer immersed in water
surrounded by an oil atmosphere.
3) Stop-watch and a cloth to remove the oil later from the thermowell wall.
Procedure:
1) Firstly, the oil bath temperature is allowed to reach 105-110
0
C. Correspondingly, the
temperature indicated by the thermowell thermometer is also noted.
2) When the thermowell temperature reached 90-95
0
C, it is suddenly exposed to the
surrounding atmosphere by removing its contact with the oil bath.
3) The stop watch is started as soon as the thermowell is taken out. However, one must wipe
out the oil layer from the thermowell walls in order to eliminate the resistance offered by it.
4) The dynamic response of the system is recorded by noting the time taken by it to show a
drop of every 5
0
C till the room or steady state temperature. (Initially, one can note down the
time for every 5
0
C drop but as the temperature reaches close to the room temperature, one
can measure time taken for every 2
0
C drop).
Theory:
Thermowell is a closed-end re-entrant tube designed for the insertion of the temperature
sensing element such as thermometer. It is provided with means for pressure tight attachment
to the vessel. The vary purpose of the thermowell systems is to protect the temperature
sensors from the fluctuations in flow rates and pressure as well as harsh environments. One of
the major advantages of such systems is that they encase the temperature sensors without
substantially insulating them from the process conditions.
A thermowell can be regarded as the system provided with an additional resistance to a
simple thermometer system at its bulb to increase its time constant. Thus, the resistance to the
heat transfer is provided by the fluid surrounding the thermowell (test tube) and the fluid
between the thermometer bulb and thermowell. The transfer function of the thermowell
system is described by the following transfer function:
0
2
1 2 1 2 1 2
( ) 1
( )
( ) ( ) 1
i
T s
G s
T s s RC s


(1)
In the above equation, G(s) is a transfer function relating the change in thermowell output
temperature to the inlet temperature change.
1
and
2
are the time constants of the
thermowell and thermometer bulb respectively and C
2
is the thermal capacity of the bulb. In
this case, we assume he term
1 2
RC is negligible as the two first order systems, namely
thermometer and thermowell are assumed to be non-interacting. The above equation, hence
reduces to,
0
1 2
( ) 1
( )
( ) ( 1)( 1)
i
T s
G s
T s s s


(2)
In our experiment, we assume that the thermowell follows a pseudo first order response when
subjected to a following step change,
( )
i
A
T s
S
(3)
Where A is the temperature difference between atmosphere and thermowell temperature (90-
95
0
C). Therefore, the dynamic response can be estimated as follows:
/
0
( ) (1 )
t
i
T t T A e

(4)
The time constant in the above relation is the time taken by the thermowell system to reach
63.2% of the response range.
Expectations/conclusions/graphs:
It is expected to plot the experimental and theoretical response on the same plot and comment
on the nature of the graphs obtained. If there exists a considerable difference between the
two, you must explain why the model fails. One exercise could be to calculate the time
response of the thermometer immersed in an oil bath and suddenly exposed to the
atmosphere. One may use the model equation described by equation (2).