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# Time Constant Determination for Thermometer

Blanca, Marie Rafael, Enriquez, Erika Faye O., Obiena, Clarisse, Protacio Maychelle Ann, Santos, Espiritu L. Chemical Engineering Department, Adamson University 900 San Marcelino St., Ermita, Manila, Philippines Abstract A thermometer is the most common device used for measuring temperatures. The temperature reading in a thermometer is technically measured by its response to a step input. In the experiment, the time constant for the system (the alcohol thermometer) is determined by allowing the temperature to reach its steady state at 100 degree Celsius and is then subjected to a step change by exposing to the surroundings. The time variation or the response of the thermometer for each 10 degree Celsius temperature interval was recorded using a split timer from 100 degree Celsius to 26 degree Celsius. The graph of temperature versus time is prepared to get the time constant using transfer function for a particular first order system. Introduction The behavior of a thermometer can be best explained using transfer functions for a first order system. The response of the system can be measured by noting the variation of time, t for a particular change in temperature, T. In general, a transfer function relates two variables in a physical process; one of these is the cause (forcing function or input variable) and the other is the effect (response or output variable). Any physical system for which the relation between the Laplace transforms of input and output deviation variables is of the form In the alcohol thermometer experiment, the transfer function of a system is the ratio of the Laplace transform of the deviation in thermometer reading to the Laplace transform of the deviation in the surrounding temperature. The thermometer should be assumed initially to be in its steady-state. This explains that, before time zero, there is no change in temperature with time. At time zero, the thermometer will be subjected to some change in the surrounding temperature. In control systems, the primary concerns are the deviations of system variables from their steady-state values. Methodology Apparatus Needed: Alcohol Thermometer Stopwatch Beaker Hot plate

is a first order system. The (tau) in the equation is called the time constant of the system and has the units of time. From this form, the response of the thermometer is obtained by multiplying the known input which is usually a step input or a unit impulse.

The procedures in getting the variations in time for every change in temperature for a thermometer can be summarized in the flowchart below:

## Boil water using the hot plate.

surrounding temperature, 26 degree Celsius was considered as the step change in the system. From the data below, we determined that the steady state temperature of the system needed an average of 220.03 seconds to reach its output of 26 deg C. Table 1: Time Variations of the System

Put thermometer in the boiling water, wait for it to reach 100 C. Remove the thermometer and expose to room temperature. Record T versus t.

T (C) 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 26

## Trial 3 0 3.05 5.58 9.84 14.85 32.04 63.72 137.52 211.81

The alcohol thermometer was used to measure the room temperature that served as the initial temperature of the system at ambient temperature. The thermometer was immersed in a hot water bath using a beaker half-filled with water. It was heated until it reached a temperature of 100 degree Celsius which is regarded as the new steady-state of the system. It is then exposed to the surroundings and the time variations were recorded for every 10 degree Celsius change in temperature until it reached again its initial state at room temperature. Results and Discussion The time constant of the thermometer was calculated using the transfer function generated by the time variations for a particular change in temperature. The thermometer was immersed in a hot water bath until it reached its steady state. The response of the system was recorded for every 10 degree Celsius until it is cooled up to its ambient temperature. As we can see in Table 1, the initial steady state temperature of the system was 100 degree Celsius while the

The time variations above were plotted in Figure 1. The figure showed that the system responded rapidly as it is removed from the bath and slows down as the temperature gets closer to the ambient temperature. Figure 1: Graph of the Time Variations vs Temperature
T vs t
1 20 1 00 80 T (deg C) 60 40 20 0 0 50 10 0 150 20 0 250 t (se c) trial 1 trial 2 trial 3

Using the response time of the system, we can calculate for the time constant using the transfer function for a first order system.

Table 2: Time Constants of the System T (C) 100 1 -21.70 18.92 18.35 20.62 31.65 41.16 48.98 -2 -17.01 18.63 18.70 20.42 33.09 43.05 50.63 -3 -21.01 17.71 18.93 19.09 28.45 38.27 47.13 - ave -19.91 18.42 18.66 20.04 31.06 40.83 48.91 --

90 80 70 60 50 40 30 26

increases as the temperature reading decreases. The system became stable after a specific time until it reached the ambient temperature of 26 degree Celsius recorded initially. The time constant of the system measures the rate a system can respond to a certain change or disturbance. However, this constant does not ordinarily measure the change but it somehow depends on the nature of the fluid or the system being analyzed. The transfer function for a first order system is the most applicable way to determine the time constant of the thermometer. The ratio of the Laplace transform of the deviation in the thermometer to the Laplace transform of the deviation in the surrounding temperature accounts the transfer function of the system. The first order system form is a useful tool to calculate the time constant for an alcohol thermometer. References

The sample computation for the time constant is illustrated in Appendix C. We determined the time constant for the given system by plotting the temperature and its corresponding average time constant. From Figure 2, it was observed that the time constant appeared to be linear from 60 deg C to 90 deg C. getting the average for the time constant at this range, we get 19.26 seconds. Figure 2: Constant Temperature vs Time

tim e c o n s ta n t v s T

Coughanowr, Donald R., (1991). Process Systems Analysis and Control, 2nd Edition, McGraw-Hill, Inc., New York Graham, Luke. Temperature Measurement and First Order Dynamic Response. Retrieved from: http://www.google.com.ph/gwt/x? q=time+constant+determination+f or+thermometer&ei=9zkRT969Jkwi QeDHg&ved=OCA8QF;AF&hI=fil&so urce=m&rd=1&u=http://cnx.org/co ntent/mI3774/latest/

## 60 50 time constant (sec) 40 30 20 10 0 0 20 40 60 T (d e g C ) 80 100

Conclusion The time constant for a thermometer is determined by exposing it to a step change. Based from the experiment, it is concluded that the temperature changes rapidly until it reached a point where a slow change is observed. The response of the system, which is accounted using time variations, Appendices Appendix A: Experimental Data T (C) 100 90 Trial 1 0 3.15 Trial 2 0 2.47 Trial 3 0 3.05

80 70 60 50 40 30 26

50 40 30 26

## 31.06 40.83 48.91 --

Appendix C: Attendance Experiment 1: Time Constant Determination for Thermometer Date Performed: January 12, 2012 Blanca, Marie Rafael Enriquez, Erika Faye O. Obiena, Clarisse Protacio Maychelle Ann Santos, Espiritu L.

## Appendix B: Sample Computation For a first order system,

X(s) = (26-100)/s = -74/s Y(s) = -74/s * (1/s+1) = -74/(s*(s+1/)) Y(s) = A/s + B/(s+1/) Therefore, A = -74 ; B= 74 Y(s) = -74/s + [74/(s+1/)] Y(t) = -74+ 74e-t/ y(t) y(s) = -74(1- e-t/) y(t) = y(s) - 74(1- e-t/) since; y(s) = 100 deg. Celsius therefore, y(t) = 100- 74(1- e-t/) by linearization,

= 19.26 seconds

## y(t) = 100- 74(1- e-t/19.26)

Time Constant: T (C) 100 1 -21.70 18.92 18.35 20.62 2 -17.01 18.63 18.70 20.42 3 -21.01 17.71 18.93 19.09 ave -19.91 18.42 18.66 20.04

90 80 70 60