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An RTD works by using a basic principle; as the temperature of a metal
increases, so does the resistance to the flow of electricity. An electrical current is
passed through the sensor, the resistance element is used to measure the resistance
of the current being passed through it.
RTD types are broadly classified according to the different sensing elements used.
Platinum, Nickel and Copper are the most commonly used sensing elements.
Platinum type RTD is also known for its best interchange ability than copper and
nickel. It also has the highest time stability.

1. RTD platinum resistance element: This is the actual temperature sensing portion
of the RTD. Elements range in length from 1/8" to 3". There are many options. The
standard temperature coefficient is an alpha of .00385 and the standard resistance is

2. RTD Outside diameter: The most common outside diameter is 6mm (.236") for
non-US applications. However, outside diameters range from .063" to.500"

RTD Tubing Material: 316 Stainless steel is commonly used for assemblies up to
500degreeF. Above 500degreeF it is advisable to use Inconel 600.

3. RTD Process Connection: Process connection fittings include all standard fittings
used with thermocouples (i.e. compression, welded, spring-loaded, etc.).

4. RTD Wire Configuration: RTDs are available in 2, 3 and 4 wire configuration. 3

wire configurations are the most common for industrial applications. Teflon and
fiberglass are the standard wire insulation materials. Teflon is moisture resistant and
can be used up to 400 degree F. Fiberglass can be used up to 1000 degreeF.

5. RTD cold end termination: RTDs can terminate on the cold end with plugs, bare
wires, terminal heads and any of the reference junctions common to thermocouples.
RTDs work on a basic correlation between metals and temperature. As the
temperature of a metal increases, the metal's resistance to the flow of electricity
increases. Similarly, as the temperature of the RTD resistance element increases, the
electrical resistance, measured in ohms (Ω), increases. RTD elements are commonly
specified according to their resistance in ohms at zero degrees Celsius (0degreeC).

Platinum is the most commonly used metal for RTD elements due to a number of
factors, including its (1) chemical inertness, (2) nearly linear temperature versus
resistance relationship, (3) temperature coefficient of resistance that is large enough
to give readily measurable resistance changes with temperature and (4) stability (in
that its temperature resistance does not drastically change with time).

RTD elements are typically in one of three configurations: (1) a platinum or metal
glass slurry film deposited or screened onto a small flat ceramic substrate known as
"thin film" RTD elements, and (2) platinum or metal wire wound on a glass or
ceramic bobbin and sealed with a coating of molten glass known as "wire wound"
RTD elements. (3) A partially supported wound element which is a small coil of
wire inserted into a hole in a ceramic insulator and attached along one side of that
hole. Of the three RTD elements, the thin film is most rugged and has become
increasingly more accurate over time.
The conductor most commonly used in industrial RTDs is platinum, but copper and
silver conductors are also used. The Platinum 100 RTD is the most common
element in industry and is referred to as the Pt-100 RTD. The resistance of the RTD
is 100 ohms at 0º C (32º F), the reference point.
The conductor is usually wound in a coil and is sheathed in a 6 mm stainless-steel
tube. The entire assembly is referred to as the probe.
Wiring Configuration
Two-wire configuration
The simplest resistance-thermometer configuration uses two wires. It is only used
when high accuracy is not required, as the resistance of the connecting wires is added
to that of the sensor, leading to errors of measurement. This configuration allows use
of 100 meters of cable. This applies equally to balanced bridge and fixed bridge
For a balanced bridge usual setting is with R2 = R1, and R3 around the middle of
the range of the RTD. So for example, if we are going to measure between 0 and
100 °C (32 and 212 °F), RTD resistance will range from 100 Ω to 138.5 Ω. We
would choose R1 = 120 Ω. In that way we get a small measured voltage in the bridge.
Three-wire configuration

In order to minimize the effects of the lead resistances, a three-wire configuration

can be used. The suggested setting for the configuration shown, is with R1 = R2, and
R3 around the middle of the range of the RTD. Looking at the Wheatstone
bridge circuit shown, the voltage drop on the lower left hand side is V_rtd + V_lead,
and on the lower right hand size is V_R3 + V_lead, therefore the bridge voltage
(V_b) is the difference, V_rtd - V_R3. The voltage drop due to the lead resistance
has been cancelled out. This always applies if R1=R2, and R1, R2 >> RTD, R3. R1
and R2 can serve the use of limiting the current through the RTD, for example for a
PT100, limiting to 1mA, and 5V, would suggest a limiting resistance of
approximately R1 = R2 = 5/0.001 = 5,000 Ohms.
Characteristics of RTD
Important characteristics of an RTD include the temperature coefficient of
resistance (TCR), the nominal resistance at 0 degrees Celsius, and the tolerance
classes. The TCR determines the relationship between the resistance and the

RTD sensor is used in automotive to measure the engine temperature, an oil level
sensor, intake air temperature sensors. In communication and instrumentation for
sensing the over the temperature of amplifiers, transistor gain stabilizers, etc.
Stability, Precision, and Repeatability.
Response time is high
Price is high
“A two terminal solid state thermally sensitive transducer, that allows a significant
change in its resistive value with respect to change in ambient temperature.”
Principle :

A thermistor is a temperature sensor constructed of semiconductor material that

exhibits a large modification in resistance in proportion to a tiny low modification
in temperature


NTC Thermistor:

 Definition – NTC or negative temperature coefficient thermistor is a device whose

resistance decreases with increase in temperature. These types of resistor usually
exhibit a large, precise and predictable decrease in resistance with increase in
 Material Used for Construction – Unlike other resistors (fixed or variable), these
are made of ceramics and polymers, which composed of metal oxides that are dried
and sintered to obtain a desired form factor. In case of NTC thermistor, cobalt,
nickel, iron and copper oxides are preferred
 NTC Thermistor Symbol – The symbol for NTC thermistor is given as:

 Characteristic Curve – A typical NTC thermistor gives most precise readings in the
temperature range of -55oC to 200oC. However some specially designed NTC
thermistors are used at absolute zero temperature(-273.15oC) and some can be used
above 150oC.The figure below shows the characteristic curve of a NTC thermistor:

Thermistor Characteristic NTC Curve

 . Heat dissipation:

Like any resistor, Thermistor also dissipates heat whenever a significant amount of
current flows through it. This heat is dissipated in the core of the Thermistor,
therefore it can tamper the precision of the device.

 Heat capacity:

The heat required to increase the temperature by 1oC in a NTC Thermistor, is called
its heat capacity. It defines the response speed of NTC Thermistor and hence its
knowledge is needed to decide where it has to be used.
PTC Thermistor:
 Definition – PTC or Positive temperature coefficient Thermistors are those resistors
whose resistance increases with increase in ambient temperature.

 Types of PTC Thermistors – PTC Thermistors are grouped according to their

structure, materials used and their manufacturing process. Silistors, are PTC
Thermistors that belong to the first group(according to material used and structure).
They use silicon as the semiconductor and have linear characteristic. Switching type
PTC Thermistors belong to the second category (according to the manufacturing
process). This Thermistor has a non linear characteristic curve. As the switching type
PTC Thermistor gets heated, initially the resistance starts to decrease, up to a certain
critical temperature, after which as the heat is increased, the resistance increases

 PTC Thermistor Symbol – The following figure shows the symbol used for PTC
Thermistors in a circuit diagram.

 Characteristic Curve – The following figure shows the characteristic curve of a

Silistor and a switching type PTC Thermistor.
Silistor vs PTC Thermistor Characteristic Curve

We see that, a silistor PTC has a linear characteristic. This means that this PTC
Thermistor is quite sensitive to the change in temperature. Its resistance increases
linearly with increase in temperature. The switching type PTC however, is different.
Due to its poly-crystalline ceramic body, has a nonlinear characteristic curve. We
see from the figure that upto a certain temperature, lets call it a threshold
temperature, the resistance decreases with increase in temperature much like a NTC
Thermistor. As the temperature increases beyond the threshold temperature, the
resistance starts to increase dramatically with increase in temperature.

 Rated resistance of Thermistor – The resistance of PTC Thermistor is rated at a

temperature of 25oC. It means that if you find a PTC Thermistor, that has a rating
say 200Ω, it implies that this is the value of resistance at 25oC.

Now that we have discussed about the types of Thermistors according to the type of
temperature coefficient, there is another classification based on the shape and size
of the Thermistors.
Classification Based on the Type of Size and Shape of the Thermistors

Thermistor, whether it is an NTC or PTC Thermistor, has a body made of metallic

oxide. The metallic oxide body of a Thermistor can be pressed into different shapes
and sizes.

They can be either pressed into a bead, disk or cylindrical shape.

Therefore, the ones pressed into bead are known as bead Thermistors, those pressed
into disk are known as disk Thermistors and similarly, the third class is the
cylindrical Thermistors. Bead Thermistors are the smallest in size of the lot.

Thermistor Working

The Thermistor works on a simple principle: Change in temperature of the

Thermistor, leads to a change in its resistance.

How does its temperature change?

The Thermistor’s temperature can change either due to external factors or due to
internal factors.

The most important internal factor is the current flowing through the device. As the
current through it increases, it starts self heating its elements. This causes a rise in
temperature of the Thermistor.

Depending on the type of Thermistor( whether NTC or PTC), its resistance changes
with respect to this change in temperature.

Externally the Thermistor temperature can be changed by changing the ambient


The resistance and temperature relationship can be approximated by the following

Resistance – Temperature Relation Equation of Thermistor


R = Resistance of Thermistor at the temperature T (in K)

R0 = Resistance at given temperature T0 (in K)

β = Material specific-constant

In terms of temperature coefficient of resistance this equation can be defined as:

R = Ro [1+α(T-To)] ....(2)

We shall discuss about some basic Thermistor circuits in the application section

Uses and Applications of Thermistors

In this section we shall give you a brief about the common uses of each type of
Thermistor. Each Thermistor that is NTC and PTC Thermistor are used in different
applications according to the need.

NTC Thermistor Applications

 NTC Temperature Sensor – The most common use of a Thermistor is that to

measure the ambient temperature. NTC Thermistor, being highly sensitive to
temperature is considered ideal for this application. They are cheap and mostly used
for temperature range -40oC to +300o
Apart from the temperature range other criteria that are taken into account while
choosing a Thermistor for this application include: Resistance range, accuracy,
surrounding medium, response time and dimensional requirements.
A very basic circuit that uses Thermistor for temperature measurement is shown
below. It is nothing but a Wheatstone bridge. Initially, all the 4 resistors (one of them
being Thermistor) are balanced, that is there won’t be any current through the
ammeter. A change in temperature will obviously change the resistance of the
Thermistor and hence a current will flow through the ammeter.

Wheatstone Bridge – NTC Temperature Sensor Application

 Temperature Compensation – Even though all the semiconductors posses a

temperature coefficient, NTC has a high sensitivity towards temperature. Hence,
NTC is opted for compensating undesired response to temperature changes in a
circuit. The compensation netwrk mostly comprises of resistors in series (or shunt)
and a voltage divider circuit. Screw type Thermistors are preferred for this
application as the temperature of the Thermistor and the component that is
responsive to the temperature change should match.
Below figure shows a compensation network using a Thermistor.

Temperature Compensation Network Using Thermistor

 As a Fire alarm – NTC Thermistors can be used to build simple fire alarms. A basic
circuit is shown in the figure below.
Fire Alarm Circuit Using NTC Thermistors

In this circuit, the Thermistor resistance controls the voltage across the resistor
triggering the transistor switch. As the Thermistor senses an increase in temperature,
its resistance decreases, that in turn increases the voltage across the resistor that
triggers the transistor switch. The switch triggers the buzzer, hence alerting of a
potential fire hazard.

These were some of the basic circuits that use Thermistors. These circuits are
developed into advanced circuits to be used in various practical applications. Some
of the practical applications include:

 Temperature controllers in mobile phone, refrigerators hair dryers etc

 Temperature measuring device to monitor temperature of exhaust gas, cylinder head
 To monitor temperature to maintain the room temperature at certain desired level.
 As a temperature stabilizer in laser diodes and photo elements.

PTC Thermistor Applications

PTC Thermistors can be actually broadly classified into two categories based on
their applications. Let’s discuss some of its applications under these categories.

a) Power PTC Thermistors:

 Power PTC Thermistors as fuse – For circuits that require over current protection,
power PTC Thermistors act as a fuse. Ceramic PTC Thermistors are a replacement
to conventional fuses to protect loads such as motors, transformers etc.

Figure below shows a simple circuit using a PTC Thermistor as a fuse connected in
series with load.

PTC Thermistor as Fuse

 These PTC Thermistors are used a switch in motor starting circuits, Degaussing
circuits etc.
 Due to their Resistance and temperature characteristic , PTC Thermistors are a good
choice for Small heaters and thermostats .
b) PTC Thermistor Sensors – A PTC Thermistor sensor is used in various
application. As a level sensor , they are a good choice to detect and control overflow
in oil tankers.

Another type of sensor, that is made using the PTC Thermistor, is ofcourse the
temperature sensor. Here when these PTC are used, only their steep region of R/T
characteristic is considered. Also, the resistance is regarded as a function of ambient
temperature given that varistor effect is excluded. These sensors come in handy at
places where temperature limit is needed for protection purposes.

Figure below shows a basic circuit diagram for the protection of power
semiconductors by a PTC Thermistor limit temperature sensor.

Protection of Power Semiconductors by PTC Thermistor

So these were some of the basic applications of Thermistors.

These Thermistors are basically not used at high temperatures. For applications
where Thermistors need to be exposed to high temperatures, a different kind of
Thermistors is used. Let’s discuss about them briefly in the next section.

The thermocouple principle mainly depends on the three effects namely Seebeck,
Peltier and Thompson.
See beck-effect
This type of effect occurs among two dissimilar metals. When the heat offers to any
one of the metal wire, then the flow of electrons supplies from hot metal wire to cold
metal wire. Therefore, direct current stimulates in the circuit.

This Peltier effect is opposite to the Seebeck effect. This effect states that the
difference of the temperature can be formed among any two dissimilar conductors
by applying the potential variation among them.

This effect states that as two disparate metals fix together & if they form two joints
then the voltage induces the total conductor’s length due to the gradient of
temperature. This is a physical word which demonstrates the change in rate and
direction of temperature at an exact position.

Construction of Thermocouple
The construction of thermocouple is shown below. It comprises of two different
metal wires and that are connected together at the junction end. The junction thinks
as the measuring end. The end of the junction is classified into three type’s namely
ungrounded, grounded and exposed junction.

In this type of junction, the conductors are totally separated from the protecting
cover. The applications of this junction mainly include high-pressure application
works. The main benefit of using this junction is to decrease the stray magnetic field

In this type of junction, the metal wires as well as protecting cover are connected
together. This function is used to measure the temperature in the acidic atmosphere,
and it supplies resistance to the noise.

The exposed junction is applicable in the areas where quick response is required.
This type of junction is used to measure the gas temperature. The metal used to make
the thermocouple basically depends on the calculating range of temperature.

Working of Thermocouple
The thermocouple schematic diagram is shown in the below figure. This circuit can
be built with two different metals, and that are coupled together by generating two
junctions. The two metals are surrounded to the connection through welding.

In the above diagram, the junctions are denoted by P & Q, and the temperatures are
denoted by T1, & T2. When the temperature of the junction is dissimilar from each
other, then the electromagnetic force generates in the circuit.
If the temperate at the junction end turn into equivalent, then the equivalent, as well
as reverse electromagnetic force, produces in the circuit, and there is no flow of
current through it. Similarly, the temperature at the junction end become imbalanced,
then the potential variation induces in this circuit.

The magnitude of the electromagnetic force induces in the circuit rely on the sorts
of material utilized for thermocouple making. The entire flow of current throughout
the circuit is calculated by the measuring tools.

The electromagnetic force induced in the circuit is calculated by the following


E = a (∆Ө) + b (∆Ө)2
Where ∆Ө is the temperature difference among the hot thermocouple junction end
as well as the reference thermocouple junction end, a & b are constants

Advantages & Disadvantages of Thermocouple

The advantages include the following.

 Accuracy is high
 It is Robust and can be used in environments like harsh as well as high vibration.
 Thermal reaction is fast
 The operating range of temperature is wide.
 Wide operating temperature range
 Cost is low and extremely consistent

The disadvantages include the following.

 It has low-accuracy.
 The thermocouple recalibration is hard
Thermocouple Applications
Some of the applications of thermocouple include the following.

 These are used as the temperature sensors in thermostats in offices, homes, offices
& businesses.
 These are used in industries for monitoring temperatures of metals in iron,
aluminum, and metal.
 These are used in the food industry for cryogenic and Low-temperature
applications. Thermocouples are used as a heat pump for performing
thermoelectric cooling.
 These are used to test temperature in the chemical plants, petroleum plants.
 These are used in gas machines for detecting the pilot flame.

The term manometer is derived from the ancient Greek words 'manós', meaning thin or
rare, and 'métron'. A manometer works on the principle of hydrostatic equilibrium and
is used for measuring the pressure (static pressure) exerted by a still liquid or gas.
Hydrostatic equilibrium states that the pressure at any point in a fluid at rest is equal,
and its value is just the weight of the overlying fluid. In its simplest form, a manometer
is a U-shaped tube consisting of an incompressible fluid like water or mercury. It is
inexpensive and does not need calibration.

As seen in the figure, the U-shaped tube filled with liquid measures the differential
pressure, i.e., the difference in levels 'h' between the two limbs gives the pressure
difference (p1 - p2) between them. When pressure is applied at limb 1, the fluid recedes
in limb 1, and its level rises in limb 2. This rise continues till a balance is struck between
the unit weight of fluid and the pressure applied. If the pressure applied at one opening;
say limb 1 of the U-tube, is atmospheric pressure, the difference gives the gauge
pressure at limb 2.
Manometers are generally classified into simple manometers and differential
manometers. Let us take a closer look at the each individual type and their working
principle in detail.
Types of Simple Manometers
▶ Piezometer

As shown in the figure, one end of the piezometer is open to atmospheric pressure,
and the other end is connected to the point A, where pressure is to be measured. The
rise of liquid will be in accordance with the pressure at point A. If h is the height of
liquid in the piezometer, pressure at point A is given by:
Pressure in N/m2 = ρ × g × h

U-Tube Manometer

It consists of a glass tube bent like the letter 'U'. In this type of manometer, balancing
a column of liquid is done by another column of same or other liquid. One end of the
U-tube is attached to the point where pressure is to be measured, while the other end
is open to atmospheric pressure. The pressure at point B in the figure is given by:
P = ρ2 g h2 - ρ1g h1
Cistern or Well Type Manometer:

As shown in the figure, the well area is larger than the area of the tube, denoted by A.
The rise in liquid level in the tube is considered while that in the well is ignored. If
p1 and p2 are absolute pressures applied as shown in figure:
h p1 A - p2 A = Ahρg
h = (p1 - p2)/ρg
▶ Inclined Type Manometer

It is similar to a well type manometer in construction. The only difference being that
the vertical column limb is inclined at an angle θ. Inclined manometers are used for
accurate measurement of small pressure.
Types of Differential Manometers
Differential Manometers are used to measure the pressure difference between two
points in a pipe or between two different pipes. The principle and working of the types
of differential manometers are given below.
U- tube Differential Manometer
In the adjoining figure, the two points A and B are in liquids having different specific
gravity. Also, A and B are at different levels. A liquid which is denser than the two
fluids is used in the U tube, which is immiscible with the other fluids. Let the pressure
at point A be PA and that at point B be PB.
PA - PB = g × h (ρg - ρ1)
Inverted U-tube Differential Manometer

This type of manometer is used when the difference between the densities of the two
liquids is small. Similar to the previous type, A and B are points at different levels
with liquids having different specific gravity. It consists of a glass tube shaped like an
inverted letter 'U' and is similar to two piezometers connected end to end. Air is
present at the center of the two limbs. As the two points in consideration are at
different pressures, the liquid rises in the two limbs. Air or mercury is used as the
manometric fluid. If PA is the pressure at point A and PB is the pressure at point B;
PA - PB = ρ1 × g × h1 - ρ 2 × g × h2 - ρ g × g × h

A digital manometer uses a microprocessor and pressure transducer to sense slight

changes in pressure. It gives the pressure readout on a digital screen. It measures
differential pressure across two inputs. An analog/digital output in proportion to the
instantaneous pressure can be obtained. Digital manometers report positive, negative,
or differential measurements between pressures. With the integration of an
anemometer, flow readings can also be recorded on a digital manometer. Current
standards for accuracy require that manometers be within +/- 3 mm Hg (mm of
mercury) of the reference or within +/- 3 mm Hg or 2% of the reading (whichever is
greater) for extended temperature ranges.
Accuracy in Liquid Manometers

1. U-tube type: +/- ½ of minor scale graduation

2. Well type: +/- ½ of minor scale graduation
3. Inclined type: +/- ½ of minor scale graduation

Accuracy in Digital Manometers

1. General purpose: +/- 0.025 - 0.1% F.S.

2. Calibrating: +/- 0.025 - 0.1% F.S.

Manometer Applications
 Used in the maintenance of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC)
systems, low pressure pneumatic or gas systems.
 Construction of bridges, installing swimming pools and other engineering
 Climate forecasting.
 Clinical applications like measuring blood pressure and in physiotherapy.
 Piezometers are used to measure the pressure in pipes where the liquid is in motion.

Bourdon Tubes are known for its very high range of differential pressure
measurement in the range of almost 100,000 psi (700 MPa). It is an elastic type
pressure transducer.
The device was invented by Eugene Bourdon in the year 1849. The basic idea behind
the device is that, cross-sectional tubing when deformed in any way will tend to
regain its circular form under the action of pressure. The bourdon pressure gauges
used today have a slight elliptical cross-section and the tube is generally bent into a
C-shape or arc length of about 27 degrees. The detailed diagram of the bourdon tube
is shown below.
As seen in the figure, the pressure input is given to a socket which is soldered to the
tube at the base. The other end or free end of the device is sealed by a tip. This tip is
connected to a segmental lever through an adjustable length link. The lever length
may also be adjustable. The segmental lever is suitably pivoted and the spindle holds
the pointer as shown in the figure. A hair spring is sometimes used to fasten the
spindle of the frame of the instrument to provide necessary tension for proper
meshing of the gear teeth and thereby freeing the system from the backlash. Any
error due to friction in the spindle bearings is known as lost motion. The mechanical
construction has to be highly accurate in the case of a Bourdon Tube Gauge. If we
consider a cross-section of the tube, its outer edge will have a larger surface than the
inner portion. The tube walls will have a thickness between 0.01 and 0.05 inches.
As the fluid pressure enters the bourdon tube, it tries to be reformed and because of
a free tip available, this action causes the tip to travel in free space and the tube
unwinds. The simultaneous actions of bending and tension due to the internal
pressure make a non-linear movement of the free tip. This travel is suitable guided
and amplified for the measurement of the internal pressure. But the main
requirement of the device is that whenever the same pressure is applied, the
movement of the tip should be the same and on withdrawal of the pressure the tip
should return to the initial point.

A lot of compound stresses originate in the tube as soon as the pressure is applied.
This makes the travel of the tip to be non-linear in nature. If the tip travel is
considerably small, the stresses can be considered to produce a linear motion that is
parallel to the axis of the link. The small linear tip movement is matched with a
rotational pointer movement. This is known as multiplication, which can be adjusted
by adjusting the length of the lever. For the same amount of tip travel, a shorter lever
gives larger rotation. The approximately linear motion of the tip when converted to
a circular motion with the link-lever and pinion attachment, a one-to-one
correspondence between them may not occur and distortion results. This is known
as angularity which can be minimized by adjusting the length of the link.

Other than C-type, bourdon gauges can also be constructed in the form of a helix or
a spiral. The types are varied for specific uses and space accommodations, for better
linearity and larger sensitivity. For thorough repeatability, the bourdon tubes
materials must have good elastic or spring characteristics. The surrounding in which
the process is carried out is also important as corrosive atmosphere or fluid would
require a material which is corrosion proof. The commonly used materials are
phosphor-bronze, silicon-bronze, beryllium-copper, inconel, and other C-Cr-Ni-Mo
alloys, and so on.

In the case of forming processes, empirical relations are known to choose the tube
size, shape and thickness and the radius of the C-tube. Because of the internal
pressure, the near elliptic or rather the flattened section of the tube tries to expand as
shown by the dotted line in the figure below (a). The same expansion lengthwise is
shown in figure (b). The arrangement of the tube, however forces an expansion on
the outer surface and a compression on the inner surface, thus allowing the tube to
unwind. This is shown in figure (c).
Expansion of Bourdon Tube Due to Internal Pressure

Like all elastic elements a bourdon tube also has some hysteresis in a given pressure
cycle. By proper choice of material and its heat treatment, this may be kept to within
0.1 and 0.5 percent of the maximum pressure cycle. Sensitivity of the tip movement
of a bourdon element without restraint can be as high as 0.01 percent of full range
pressure reducing to 0.1 percent with restraint at the central pivot.


Bellows are also used for pressure measurement, and can be made of cascaded
capsules. The basic way of manufacturing bellows is by fastening together many
individual diaphragms. The bellows element, basically, is a one piece expansible,
collapsible and axially flexible member. It has many convolutions or fold. It can be
manufactured form a single piece of thin metal. For industrial purposes, the
commonly used bellow elements are:
 By turning from a solid stock of metal
 By soldering or welding stamped annular rings
 Rolling a tube
 By hydraulically forming a drawn tubing
The action of bending and tension operates the elastic members. For proper working,
the tension should be least. The design ideas given for a diaphragm is applied to
bowels as well. The manufacturer describes the bellows with two characters –
maximum stroke and maximum allowable pressure. The force obtained can be
increased by increasing the diameter. The stroke length can be increased by
increasing the folds or convolutions.

For selecting a specific material for an elastic member like bellows, the parameters
to be checked are:

 Range of pressure
 Hysteresis
 Fatigue on dynamic operation
 Corrosion
 Fabrication ease
 Sensitivity to fluctuating pressures
Out of these hysteresis and sensitivity to fluctuating pressures are the most important
ones. Hysteresis can be minimized by following a proper manufacturing technique.
For instance, a diaphragm when machined from a solid stock shows less hysteresis
compared to the one produced by stamping. The same technique could be adopted
for bellows as well. In the latter case, the dynamic nature of the variable is likely to
induce resonance quickly depending on the natural frequency of the system. The
natural frequency is calculable from the dimensions of the system and the gauge.

For strong bellows, the carbon steel is selected as the main element. But the material
gets easily corroded and is difficult to machine. For better hysteresis properties you
can use trumpet bass, phosphor bronze, or silicon bronze. Better dynamic
performance can be achieved by using beryllium copper. Stainless steel is corrosion
resistive, but does not have good elastic properties. For easy fabrication soft
materials are sought after.

All bellow elements are used with separate calibrating springs. The springs can be
aligned in two ways – in compression or in expansion when in use. Both these types,
with internal compression springs or external tension springs, are commercially
known as receiver elements and are used universally in pneumatic control loops. The
figures below show the compressed and expanded type. Spring opposed bellows are
also shown below. The open side of a bellows element is usually rigidly held to the
instrument casing and because of the rigid fixing, the effective or active length of
the bellows element is smaller than its actual length. This device is used in cases
where the control pressure range is between 0.2 to 1 kg/cm2.
Bellow Pressure Gauge
Because of the device’s dynamic operation, the life of a bellow is an important
consideration. Nomograms are available with the manufacturers, wherefrom the life
in circles can be read directly knowing the per cent maximum pressure and per cent
maximum stroke.

In terms of choice of elastic material for the sensors, the corrosive medium requires
special precaution. Besides this, there are other factors showing that the medium
should not come in direct contact with the measuring element. They are shown

 The direct impact of static head on the measuring element may cause error in
 Direct touch of the medium may cause corrosion, high viscosity fluids may cause
response error and entrailed materials in the medium may clog in the element.
 In some critical processes in food processing and pharmaceutical industries, cleaning
of the measuring system is necessitated.
 Removal of the measuring element for servicing should be convenient.
All these factors suggest that a type of seal should be placed between the process
fluid and the measuring element. The best example is the diaphragm seal. It consists
of a flexible diaphragm made of corrosion resistance material and sealed within a
chamber, that can connect the process on one side and the measuring element on the

The effective area of an elastic element like diaphragm or bellows element is

generally less than the geometrical area. For finding out the effective area, a known
load change is made externally o the centre of the element and the corresponding
deflection noted. The differential pressure is then found out for the same deflection.
Dead Weight Tester

A dead weight tester is an instrument that calibrates pressure by determining the

weight of force divided by the area the force is applied.
The formula for dead weight testers is pressure equals force divided by area of where
force is applied.

Dead weights are usually used for pressure gauge calibration as they come with high
accuracy, So they can be used as primary standard (as mentioned before). There are
many types of them depending on the application and they are operated with oil
(hydraulic) or with air (pneumatic).

Dead weight testers are the basic primary standard for accurate measurement of

Dead weight testers are used to measure the pressure exerted by gas or liquid and
can also generate a test pressure for the calibration of numerous pressure

Why dead weight tester called dead weight tester?

In dead weight tester, we put the weight on the weight stand of dead weight tester
putting weight is reference weight which is to be calibrate and further we applied
pressure by moving piston ,when applied pressure and reference weight(Pressure)is
equal at this condition reference weight will be zero(Dead). therefore it is called dead
weigh tester.
A deadweight tester (DWT) is a calibration standard which uses a piston cylinder on
which a load is placed to make an equilibrium with an applied pressure underneath
the piston.

The formula to design a DWT is based basically is expressed as follows :

p=F/A [Pa]

Working of Dead Weight Tester :

1 – Hand pump

2 – Testing Pump

3 – Pressure Gauge to be calibrated

4 – Calibration Weight

5 – Weight Support

6 – Piston

7 – Cylinder
8 – Filling Connection

Dead weight testers are a piston-cylinder type measuring device. As primary
standards, they are the most accurate instruments for the calibration of electronic or
mechanical pressure measuring instruments.

They work in accordance with the basic principle that P= F/A, where the pressure
(P) acts on a known area of a sealed piston (A), generating a force (F).

The force of this piston is then compared with the force applied by calibrated
weights. The use of high quality materials result in small uncertainties of
measurement and excellent long term stability.

Dead weight testers can measure pressures of up to 10,000 bar, attaining accuracies
of between 0.005% and 0.1% although most applications lie within 1 – 2500 bar.

The pistons are partly made of tungsten carbide (used for its small temperature
coefficient), and the cylinders must fit together with a clearance of no more than a
couple of micrometers in order to create a minimum friction thus limiting the
measuring error. The piston is then rotated during measurements to further minimize

The testing pump (2) is connected to the instrument to be tested (3), to the actual
measuring component and to the filling socket.

A special hydraulic oil or gas such as compressed air or nitrogen is used as the
pressure transfer medium. The measuring piston is then loaded with calibrated
weights (4). The pressure is applied via an integrated pump (1) or, if an external
pressure supply is available, via control valves in order to generate a pressure until
the loaded measuring piston (6) rises and ‘floats’ on the fluid. This is the point where
there is a balance between pressure and the mass load.

The piston is rotated to reduce friction as far as possible. Since the piston is spinning,
it exerts a pressure that can be calculated by application of a derivative of the formula
P = F/A.

The accuracy of a pressure balance is characterized by the deviation span, which is

the sum of the systematic error and the uncertainties of measurement.

Today’s dead weight testers are highly accurate and complex and can make
sophisticated physical compensations.
They can also come accompanied by an intelligent calibrator unit which can register
all critical ambient parameters and automatically correct them in real time making
readings even more accurate.

Operation Procedure

The dead weight tester apparatus consists of a chamber which is filled with oil free
impurities and a piston – cylinder combination is fitted above the chamber as shown
in diagram. The top portion of the piston is attached with a platform to carry weights.

A plunger with a handle has been provided to vary the pressure of oil in the chamber.
The pressure gauge to be tested is fitted at an appropriate plate.

the dead weight tester is basically a pressure producing and pressure measuring
device. It is used to calibrate pressure gauges.

The following procedure is adopted for calibrating pressure gauges. Calibration of

pressure gauge means introducing an accurately known sample of pressure to the
gauge under test and then observing the response of the gauge.

In order to create this accurately known pressure, the following steps are followed.
The valve of the apparatus is closed.

A known weight is placed on the platform. Now by operating the plunger, fluid
pressure is applied to the other side of the piston until enough force is developed to
lift the piston-weight combination.

When this happens, the piston weight combination floats freely within the cylinder
between limit stops. In this condition of equilibrium, the pressure force of fluid is
balanced against the gravitational force of the weights puls the friction drag.
Therefore, PA = Mg + F

Hence : P = Mg + F / A

where, P = pressure

M = Mass; Kg

g = Acceleratoion due to gravity ; m/s²

F = Friction drag; N

A = Eqivalent area of piston – cylinder combination; m²

Thus the pressure P which is caused due to the weights placed on the platform is
calculated. After calculating P , the plunger is released.

Now the pressure gauge to be calibrated is fitted at an appropriate place on the dead
weight tester. The same known weight which was used to calucated P is placed on
the platform.

Due to the weight, the piston moves downwards and exerts a pressure P on the fluid.
Now the valve in the apparatus is opened so that the fluid pressure P is transmitted
to the gauge, which makes the gauge indicate a pressure value.
This pressure value shown by the gauge should be equal to the known input pressure
P. If the gauge indicates some other value other than p the gauge is adjusted so that
it reads a value equal to p. Thus the gauge is calibrated.

It is used to calibrated all kinds of pressure gauges such as industrial pressure gauges,
pressure transmitters etc.

it is simple in construction and easy to use. It can be used to calibrated a wide range
of pressure measuring devices.

Fluid pressure can be easily varied by adding weights or by changing the piston
cylinder combination.

the accuracy of the dead weight tester is affected due to the friction between the
piston and cylinder, and due to the uncertainty of the value of gravitational constant