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Temperature Measurement Devices

Part I: To know, how to use the following temperature measuring devices:
1. Expansion thermometers
2. Change of state devices
3. Thermo-Resistive
4. Whirling Hygrometer
Part II: To know, how to use whirling hygrometer to determine the relative humidity in the atmosphere.
Part III: To compare the characteristic responses and accuracy of these four measurement devices.

Introduction to some important temperature measurement devices is given below.

Expansion Thermometer
Liquid Filled Thermometer
This type of thermometer depends on the expansion of a liquid associated with an increase in
temperature. The most common is the mercury-in-glass thermometer. This thermometer consists of a
capillary tube with a bulbous end. Clean dry mercury is introduced and the thermometer heated to drive
off the air. The end is then sealed leaving mercury and mercury vapor only.
The mercury-in-glass thermometer is an accurate device but is very fragile and care should be exercised
in use. This type of thermometer cannot be used in application such as the food industry where mercury
poisoning could occur in event of breakage. Other fluids according to the application may replace the
mercury. For example, the alcohol is cheaper and may be used at lower temperatures than mercury.
Vapor Pressure Thermometer
For industrial applications, the liquid-in-glass is far from suitable due to its fragility and difficulty in
reading. In these applications a metal container replaces glass and mechanical indication is substituted.
One example of this type of thermometer is vapor pressure thermometer.
This consists of a metal bulb, partially filled with fluid, which is connected to the sensing element of a
Bourdon gauge. The space above the fluid is filled with the vapor of the fluid, the pressure of which is
displayed on the Bourdon gauge. The gauge is calibrated directly in units of temperature corresponding
to the equivalent pressure of the vapor. The calibration is far from linear because the vapor pressure
increases rapidly at high temperatures. For this reason, vapor pressure thermometer is suitable only for
operations over short ranges of temperatures and suffers from lack of sensitivity.
Vapor pressure thermometers offer the advantage of remote reading. Correct orientation of the bulb
and gauge should be preserved for accurate results.

Bimetal Thermometer
Expansion of solids may be used to measure temperature but direct measurement is impractical due to
the very small movements involved. However if two thin metal strips, having different coefficients of
linear expansion are mechanically fastened together, the result is a strip that bends significantly when
heated. This combination is called a bimetal strip and coiling the strip into a spiral may increase the
sensitivity. One end of the strip is fixed to the case and a pointer is attached to the other end. A linear
scale may be obtained by suitable choice of metals.
This type of thermometer is very robust and has many applications throughout the industry where
accuracy of measurement is not important.

Change of state devices

A change of state device is designed for use where a permanent record of temperature is required or
access is impractical during operation. Such indicator consists of a substance which changes color when
heated to certain temperature. The indicator is irreversible and cannot be reused. The strip indicators
incorporate small areas that change color at different calibrated temperatures. After use the maximum
temperature reached is indicated by the color changes which have occurred.

A thermocouple consists of two wires of dissimilar metal joined together at one end. When the metallic
junctions heated, an e.m.f is generated known as Peltier e.m.f. By suitable connection of junctions and
instrumentation, a circuit can be created which may be used to determine temperature difference.

Thermo-Resistive Element
Electrical resistance of most the materials changes with temperature and may be utilized in the
measurement of the temperature. The resistance temperature. The resistance temperature
characteristics however differ widely from material to material and care has to exercised in selection of
suitable elements. Two common types of resistive elements are included on the Bench.
Platinum Resistance element
Metals such as nickel, copper and tungsten are commonly used as resistive elements for temperature
measurement. However platinum is the most widely used material and is specified in the international
Practical Temperature Scale for interpolation between the oxygen boiling point (-182.97 C) and the
antimony freezing point (630.5 C) due to its reliability. The resistance thermometer provides a near
linear, temperature resistance relationship that is stable over long period.
The element itself usually consists of a length of platinum wire which is trimmed in length to give an
accurate resistance of 100at 0C The wire is wound to an insulated former and protected by additional
insulation, the whole assembly being encase in a metal shell. Robust versions for industrial applications
are available but suffer in thermal response due to the degree of mechanical protection.
The thermistor is a thermally sensitive variable resistor, which is made from semi-conducting material.
The change in resistance with temperature is far greater than in case of metals, which means less
sensitive instrumentation may be used.

Thermal Response
The thermal response of a thermometer to changes in temperature is probably the most important
characteristic to consider when selecting instrumentation for a Particular application
A thermometer may be extremely accurate and suitable in performance but totally unsuitable for use in
a dynamic situation, due to a time lag between system temperature and thermometer reading.
The response of a thermometer is defined by the time taken for the temperature reading to change by
63.2% of the step change, where step change is the difference between the system temperature and
temperature indicated on thermometer before it is inserted into the system. For any thermometer, this
value will be a constant value irrespective of the step change and is defined as the time constant for the
thermometer. The time constant and the response profile for a thermometer will change, if the system
is modified. For example, the speed of response of a thermometer will be slowed down if it is protected
from the system being measured by the thermometer. There can be other similar system modifications
that may change thermal response of a thermometer.

Part I
The relative humidity may be determined using the following procedure.
Whirl the hygrometer around, for a period of 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 seconds respectively and
immediately record the temperatures indicated by dry and wet bulb thermometers in table 1.1. Using
the given hygrometric Tables, the humidity may be obtained for the measured temperature readings.
Turn the hot air blower on and place the hygrometer in the hot blowing air for about 10 seconds. Note
the readings of dry and wet bulb thermometers and observe the effect on the relative humidity.

Part II
Fill the heating flask with clean water, place the heating flask in its retaining bracket and connect the
power cord to the receptacle in its base. Place the platen on the support bracket above the water
heater. Half fill the vacuum flask with pure water.

Part III
A useful and important characteristic of temperature measurement is the rate at which heat is
transferred to the sensor.
1. Set the heater power at 2 W.
2. Insert the four thermometers (mercury-in-glass, vapor-pressure, platinum resistance and
thermistor) into the flask.
3. Record the initial temperatures on all thermometers in table 1.2 as temperature at t = 0 sec.
4. Turn the power switch on.
5. Record the stabilized temperature (i.e. at infinite time) in table 1.2.
6. Replace hot water in the flask with fresh water at ambient temperature.
7. Increase the heater power input by 100 W and repeat the experiment till table 1.2 is completed.
After all the temperatures have been taken, one can compare the temperatures and conclude which
one of the thermometer is the most sensitive to changing temperature (highest response).