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Introduction to Thermocouple and Strain Gauge

Temperature Monitoring - Thermocouple

• Thermocouple: temperature element based on two dissimilar metals • The junction of two dissimilar metals creates an open circuit voltage that is proportional to temperature • Direct measurement is difficult because each junction will have it’s own voltage drop

2009 European FAE Summit, Munich

Comparison of Temperature Sensors

Resistance Thermometer (RTD) Thermistor Good Good Good Less Resistant Whole RT Element Larger (3.0mm min) Reasonably Linear Not Required Good Good Good Good Whole bead (Small) Small (0.5mm min) Not Linear Not Required

Thermocouple Stability (Drift) Repeatability Hysteresis Vibration Measurement Area Diameter Linearity Reference Junction Lead Wire Resistance Contact Required Response Reasonable for limited lifetime Reasonable Excellent Very Resistant Single Point Small Sizes (to 0.25mm) Not Linear Required No Problem Yes Fast

Infrared Good Good Good Tolerant Varies Varies Reasonably Linear Not Required

Must be Considered No Problem Not Required Yes Yes No Slower Medium Fast

What is Thermocouple?

( is the Seebeck coefficient for small delta T)

Material EMF versus Temperature
Chromel With reference to the characteristics of pure Platinum


Iron Copper Platinum-Rhodium




Types T, J, and K are most commonly used thermocouples (see Table 16.8 of the “Handbook”).

Thermocouple Material Vs EMF

Temperature Conversion Table (I)

Thermocouple Types, cont.
• Type B – very poor below 50ºC; reference junction temperature not important since voltage output is about the same from 0 to 42 ºC • Type E – good for low temperatures since dV/dT () is high for low temperatures • Type J – cheap because one wire is iron; high sensitivity but also high uncertainty (iron impurities cause inaccuracy) • Type T – good accuracy but low max temperature (400 ºC); one lead is copper, making connections easier; watch for heat being conducted along the copper wire, changing your surface temp • Type K – popular type since it has decent accuracy and a wide temperature range; some instability (drift) over time. the slope of the type K thermocouple approaches a constant over a temperature range from 0°C to 1000°C • Type N – most stable over time when exposed to elevated temperatures for long periods

How to Select Thermocouple?
• Junction protection: sheath or not. • Tip size: big or small • Thermocouple type (T, J, K, E, S, R): –Temperature range (cryogenic or high temperature) –Corrosion (noble metal is more inert to chemical attack) • Termination: wire or connector • Cost

Thermocouple Color Codes
Thermocouple wiring is color coded by thermocouple types. Different countries utilize different color coding. Jacket coloring is sometimes a colored stripe instead of a solid color as shown.