Sie sind auf Seite 1von 29



1 Temperature measurement
2 Thermocouples
3 Principle of operation
4 Practical use
5 Types of thermocouples
6 Thermocouple comparisons
7 Applications of thermocouple
8 Thermocouples used in alumina plant
9 Installation

Industrial assemblies


Selection factor









Temperature is an expression denoting a physical condition of matter just as
mass, dimension and time. Yet the idea of temperature is a relative one
arrived at by number of conflicting theories. The classical theory depicts heat
as a form of energy associated with activities of molecules of the substances.
These minute particles of all matter are assumed to be in continuous motion
which is sensed at heat temperature and is a measure of this heat.
To standardize on the temperature of heat object under
varying condition several scale have been devised. The Fahrenheit scale
arbitrarily assigns the number 32 to the freezing point of water and number
212 to the boiling point of water and divides the interval into 180 equal
intervals. The centigrade scale shows the freezing point of water 0 and
boiling point water 100.
In line with the classical theory some relation to the point where molecules
motion is of minimum had to be to established and the Kelvin scale in terms
of absolute zero. Zero Kelvin was determining to be -273.19 C.
There are several ways to determine temperature thermodynamically
including gas thermometers,
paramagnetically (low temperature) and by plank radiation method (high
temperature). To establish some degree of continuity in the determination of
international practical temperature scale (IPTS) was adopted in 1927.This
enables temperature measurement to take place with the order of physical
We cannot build a temperature divider as we can a voltage divider, nor can
we add temperatures as we
would add lengths to measure distance.We must rely upon temperatures
established by physical phenomena which are easily observed and consistent
in nature. The International Practical Temperature Scale (IPTS) is based on
such phenomena. Revised in 1968, it establishes eleven reference
Since we have only these fixed temperatures to use as a reference, we must
use instruments to interpolate between them. But accurately interpolating
between these temperatures can require some fairly exotic transducers,
many of which are too complicated or expensive to use in a practical

situation. We shall limit our discussion to the four most common temperature
transducers: thermocouples, resistance-temperature detectors (RTDs),
thermistors, and integrated circuit sensors.


Triple Point of Hydrogen
Liquid/Vapor Phase of Hydrogen


at 25/76 Std. Atmosphere

Boiling Point of Hydrogen


Boiling Point of Neon



Triple Point of Oxygen



Boiling Point of Oxygen



Triple Point of Water



Boiling Point of Water



Freezing Point of Zinc



Freezing Point of Silver



Freezing Point of Gold




A thermocouple is a junction between two different metals that produces a

voltage related to a temperature difference. Thermocouples are a widely
used type of temperature sensor for measurement and control and can also
be used to convert heat gradient into electricity. They are inexpensive [2] and
interchangeable, are supplied fitted with standard connectors, and can
measure a wide range of temperatures. The main limitation is accuracy:
system errors of less than one degree Celsius (C) can be difficult to achieve.
Any junction of dissimilar metals will produce an electric potential related to
temperature. Thermocouples for practical measurement of temperature are
junctions of specific alloys which have a predictable and repeatable
relationship between temperature and voltage. Different alloys are used for
different temperature ranges. Properties such as resistance to corrosion may
also be important when choosing a type of thermocouple. Where the
measurement point is far from the measuring instrument, the intermediate
connection can be made by extension wires which are less costly than the
materials used to make the sensor. Thermocouples are usually standardized
against a reference temperature of 0 degrees Celsius; practical instruments
use electronic methods of cold-junction compensation to adjust for varying
temperature at the instrument terminals. Electronic instruments can also
compensate for the varying characteristics of the thermocouple, and so
improve the precision and accuracy of measurements.
Thermocouples are widely used in science and industry; applications include
temperature measurement for kilns, gas turbine exhaust, diesel engines, and
other industrial processes.

Seebeck effect
In 1821, the GermanEstonian physicist Thomas Johann Seebeck discovered
that when any conductor is subjected to a thermal gradient, it will generate a
voltage. This is now known as the thermoelectric effect or Seebeck effect.
Any attempt to measure this voltage necessarily involves connecting another
conductor to the "hot" end. This additional conductor will then also
experience the temperature gradient, and develop a voltage of its own which
will oppose the original. Fortunately, the magnitude of the effect depends on
the metal in use. Using a dissimilar metal to complete the circuit creates a
circuit in which the two legs generate different voltages, leaving a small
difference in voltage available for measurement. That difference increases
with temperature, and is between 1 and 70 microvolt per degree Celsius
(V/C) for standard metal combinations.
The voltage is not generated at the junction of the two metals of the
thermocouple but rather along that portion of the length of the two dissimilar
metals that is subjected to a temperature gradient. Because both lengths of
dissimilar metals experience the same temperature gradient, the end result
is a measurement of the temperature at the thermocouple junction.

A thermocouple is a device made by two different wires joined at one end,
called junction end or measuring end. The two wires are called
thermoelements or legs of the thermocouple: the two thermoelements are
distnguished as positive and negative ones. The other end of the
thermocouple is called tail end or reference end (Figure1). The junction end is
immersed in the enviroment whose temperature T2 has to be measured,
which can be for instance the temperature of a furnace at about 500C, while
the tail end is held at a different temperature T 1, e.g. at ambient

Figure1:Schematic drawing of a thermocouple

Because of the temperature difference between junction end and tail end a
voltage difference can be measured between the two thermoelements at the
tail end: so the thermocouple is a temperature-voltage transducer.
The temperature vs voltage relationship is given by:

where Emf is the Electro-Motive Force or Voltage produced by
thermocople at the tail end, T1 and T2 are the temperatures of reference
measuring end respectively, S12 is called Seebeck coefficient of
thermocouple and S1 and S2 are the Seebeck coefficient of the
thermoelements; the Seebeck coefficient depends on the material
thermoelement is made of. Looking at Equation1 it can be noticed that:


1. a null voltage is measured if the two thermoelements are made of the

same materials: different materials are needed to make a temperature
sensing device,
2. a null voltage is measured if no temperature difference exists between
the tail end and the junction end: a temperature difference is needed
to operate the thermocouple,
3. the Seebeck coefficient is temperature dependent.
In order to clarify the first point let us consider the following example
(Figure2): when a temperature difference is applied between the two ends of
a single Ni wire a voltage drop is developed across the wire itself. The end of
the wire at the highest temperature, T 2, is called hot end, while the end at
the lowest temperature, T1, is called cold end.

Figure2: Emf produced by a single wire

When a voltmeter, with Cu connection wires, is used to measure the voltage

drop across the Ni wire, two junctions need to be made at the hot and cold
ends between the Cu wire and the Ni wire; assuming that the voltmeter is at
room temperature T1, one of the Cu wires of the voltmeter will experience
along it the same temperature drop from T2 to T1 the Ni wire is experiencing.
In the attempt to measure the voltage drop on the Ni wire a Ni-Cu
thermocouple has been made and so the measured voltage is in reality the
voltage drop along the Ni wire plus the voltage drop along the Cu wire.
The Emf along a single thermoelement cannot be measured: the Emf
measured at the tail end in Figure1 is the sum of the voltage drop along each
of the thermoelements. As two thermoelements are needed, the temperature
measurement with thermocuoples is a differential measurement.
Note: if the wire in Figure2 was a Cu wire a null voltage would have been
measured at the voltmeter.
The temperature measurement with thermocouples is also a differential
measurement because two different temperatures, T 1 and T2, are involved.
The desired temperature is the one at the junction end, T 2. In order to have a
useful transducer for measurement, a monotonic Emf versus junction end
temperature T2 relationship is needed, so that for each temperature at the
junction end a unique voltage is produced at the tail end.

However, from the integral in Equation1 it can be understood that the Emf
depends on both T1 and T2: as T1 and T2 can change indipendently, a
monotonic Emf vs T2 relationship cannot be defined if the tail end
temperature is not constant. For this reason the tail end is mantained in an
ice bath made by crushed ice and water in a Dewar flask: this produces a
reference temperature of 0C. All the voltage versus temperature
relationships for thermocouples are referenced to 0C.
The resulting measuring system required for a thermocople is shown in

Voltagetemperature relationship

Polynomial Coefficients 0-500 C


an (for Type K)










For typical metals used in thermocouples, the output voltage increases

almost linearly with the temperature difference (T) over a bounded range of
temperatures. For precise measurements or measurements outside of the
linear temperature range, non-linearity must be corrected. The nonlinear
relationship between the temperature difference (T) and the output voltage
(mV) of a thermocouple can be approximated by a polynomial:

The coefficients an are given for n from 0 to between 5 and 13 depending

upon the metals. In some cases better accuracy is obtained with additional
non-polynomial terms. A database of voltage as a function of temperature,
and coefficients for computation of temperature from voltage and vice-versa
for many types of thermocouple is available online.
In modern equipment the equation is usually implemented in a digital
controller or stored in a look-up table; older devices use analog circuits.
Piece-wise linear approximations are an alternative to polynomial corrections.

Cold junction compensation

Thermocouples measure the temperature difference between two points, not
absolute temperature. To measure a single temperature one of the junctions
normally the cold junctionis maintained at a known reference
temperature, and the other junction is at the temperature to be sensed.
Having a junction of known temperature, while useful for laboratory
calibration, is not convenient for most measurement and control
applications. Instead, they incorporate an artificial cold junction using a
thermally sensitive device such as a thermistor or diode to measure the
temperature of the input connections at the instrument, with special care
being taken to minimize any temperature gradient between terminals.
Hence, the voltage from a known cold junction can be simulated, and the
appropriate correction applied. This is known as cold junction compensation.

Some integrated circuits such as the LT1025 are designed to output a

compensated voltage based on thermocouple type and cold junction

Figure4: An example of Cold Junction Compensation

Certain combinations of alloys have become popular as industry standards.
Selection of the combination is driven by cost, availability, convenience,
melting point, chemical properties, stability, and output. Different types are
best suited for different applications. They are usually selected based on the
temperature range and sensitivity needed. Thermocouples with low
sensitivities (B, R, and S types) have correspondingly lower resolutions.
Other selection criteria include the inertness of the thermocouple material,
and whether it is magnetic or not. Standard thermocouple types are listed
below with the positive electrode first, followed by the negative electrode.

Type K (chromel{90 percent nickel and 10 percent chromium}alumel)
(Alumel consisting of 95% nickel, 2% manganese, 2% aluminium and 1%
silicon) is the most common general purpose thermocouple with a sensitivity
of approximately 41 V/C, chromel positive relative to alumel.[7] It is
inexpensive, and a wide variety of probes are available in its 200 C to
+1350 C / -328 F to +2462 F range. Type K was specified at a time when
metallurgy was less advanced than it is today, and consequently
characteristics may vary considerably between samples. One of the
constituent metals, nickel, is magnetic; a characteristic of thermocouples
made with magnetic material is that they may undergo a step change in
output when the magnetic material reaches its Curie point (around 354 C
for type K thermocouples). (However, reference data for Type K
thermocouples at shows no
such step change near 354C.)

Type E (chromelconstantan)[5] has a high output (68 V/C) which makes it
well suited to cryogenic use. Additionally, it is non-magnetic.

Type J (ironconstantan) has a more restricted range than type K (40 to
+750 C), but higher sensitivity of about 55 V/C.[2] The Curie point of the
iron (770 C)[8] causes an abrupt change in the characteristic, which
determines the upper temperature limit.

Type N (NicrosilNisil) (Nickel-Chromium-Silicon/Nickel-Silicon) thermocouples
are suitable for use at high temperatures, exceeding 1200 C, due to their
stability and ability to resist high temperature oxidation. Sensitivity is about
39 V/C at 900 C, slightly lower than type K. Designed to be an improved
type K due to increased stability at higher temperatures, it is becoming more
popular, though the differences may or may not be substantial enough to
warrant a change.

Platinum types B, R, and S

Types B, R, and S thermocouples use platinum or a platinumrhodium alloy
for each conductor. These are among the most stable thermocouples, but
have lower sensitivity than other types, approximately 10 V/C. Type B, R,
and S thermocouples are usually used only for high temperature
measurements due to their high cost and low sensitivity.

Type B thermocouples use a platinumrhodium alloy for each conductor. One
conductor contains 30% rhodium while the other conductor contains 6%
rhodium. These thermocouples are suited for use at up to 1800 C. Type B
thermocouples produce the same output at 0 C and 42 C, limiting their use
below about 50 C.

Type R thermocouples use a platinumrhodium alloy containing 13% rhodium
for one conductor and pure platinum for the other conductor. Type R
thermocouples are used up to 1600 C.

Type S thermocouples are constructed using one wire of 90% Platinum and
10% Rhodium (the positive or "+" wire) and a second wire of 100% platinum
(the negative or "-" wire). Like type R, type S thermocouples are used up to
1600 C. In particular, type S is used as the standard of calibration for the
melting point of gold (1064.43 C).

Type T (copperconstantan) thermocouples are suited for measurements in
the 200 to 350 C range. Often used as a differential measurement since
only copper wire touches the probes. Since both conductors are nonmagnetic, there is no Curie point and thus no abrupt change in
characteristics. Type T thermocouples have a sensitivity of about 43 V/C.

Type C (tungsten 5% rhenium tungsten 26% rhenium) thermocouples are
suited for measurements in the 0 C to 2320 C range. This thermocouple is
well-suited for vacuum furnaces at extremely high temperatures. It must
never be used in the presence of oxygen at temperatures above 260 C.

Type M thermocouples use a nickel alloy for each wire. The positive wire (20
Alloy) contains 18% molybdenum while the negative wire (19 Alloy) contains
0.8% cobalt. These thermocouples are used in vacuum furnaces for the same
reasons as with type C. Upper temperature is limited to 1400 C. It is less
commonly used than other types.

In chromel-gold/iron thermocouples, the positive wire is chromel and the
negative wire is gold with a small fraction (0.030.15 atom percent) of iron. It
can be used for cryogenic applications (1.2300 K and even up to 600 K).
Both the sensitivity and the temperature range depends on the iron
concentration. The sensitivity is typically around 15 V/K at low
temperatures and the lowest usable temperature varies between 1.2 and 4.2

Thermocouple comparison
The table below describes properties of several different thermocouple types.
Within the tolerance columns, T represents the temperature of the hot
junction, in degrees Celsius. For example, a thermocouple with a tolerance of
0.0025T would have a tolerance of 2.5 C at 1000 C.


Temperat Toleran Toleran
ure range
ure range ce class ce class
C (short one

0 to +1100


between between
to 40 C 40 C
and 375 and 333
0.004 0.0075



333 C
375 C
1200 C
1000 C

0 to +750

0 to +1100



0 to +1600

between between
40 C 40 C
and 375 and 333
0.004 0.0075
between between
375 C 333 C
and 750 and 750
between 40 C
40 C and 333
and 375 C
0.004 T
between 333 C
375 C and
1200 C
1000 C
between between
to 0 C and 0 C and
1100 C 600 C
+ 0.0025
0.003( T


between 600 C
1100 C and
1600 C
1600 C

0 to 1600



0 C and
1100 C
0 C and
600 C

1100 C
600 C
1600 C
1600 C


standar standar Not
0 to +1820 Availabl
d use d use defined
600 C
copper copper .
1700 C

to 250

between between
40 C 40 C
and 125 and 133
0.004 0.0075
between between
125 C 133 C
and 350 and 350

0 to +800

Chromel/Au 272




between between
40 C 40 C
and 375 and 333
0.004 0.0075
between between
375 C 333 C
and 800 and 900

Thermocouples are suitable for measuring over a large temperature range,
up to 2300 C. They are less suitable for applications where smaller
temperature differences need to be measured with high accuracy, for
example the range 0100 C with 0.1 C accuracy. For such applications
thermistors, silicon bandgap temperature sensors and resistance
temperature detectors are more suitable. Applications include temperature
measurement for kilns, gas turbine exhaust, diesel engines, and other
industrial processes.
Steel industry

Type B, S, R and K thermocouples are used extensively in the steel and iron
industries to monitor temperatures and chemistry throughout the steel
making process. Disposable, immersible, type S thermocouples are regularly
used in the electric arc furnace process to accurately measure the
temperature of steel before tapping. The cooling curve of a small steel
sample can be analyzed and used to estimate the carbon content of molten

Heating appliance safety

Many gas-fed heating appliances such as ovens and water heaters make use
of a pilot flame to ignite the main gas burner when required. If it goes out
gas may be released, which is a fire risk and a health hazard. To prevent this
some appliances use a thermocouple in a fail-safe circuit to sense when the
pilot light is burning. The tip of the thermocouple is placed in the pilot flame,
generating a voltage which operates the supply valve which feeds gas to the
pilot. So long as the pilot flame remains lit, the thermocouple remains hot,
and the pilot gas valve is held open. If the pilot light goes out, the
thermocouple temperature falls, causing the voltage across the
thermocouple to drop and the valve to close. Some combined main burner
and pilot gas valves (mainly by honeywell) reduce the power demand to
within the range of a single universal thermocouple heated by a pilot (25mV
open circuit falling by half with the coil connected to 10~12mV @ 0.2~0.25A
typically) by sizing the coil to be able to hold the valve open against a light
spring, only after the initial turning on force is provided by a the user
pressing and holding a knob to compress the spring during first lighting.
These systems are identifiable by the 'press and hold for x minutes' in the
pilot lighting instructions. (The holding current requirement of such a valve is
much less than a bigger solenoid designed for pulling the valve in from
closed would require.) Special test sets are made to confirm the valve let-go
and holding currents as an ordinary milliameter cannot be used as it
introduces more resistance than the gas valve coil. Apart from testing the
open circuit voltage of the thermocouple, and the near short-circuit DC
continuity through the thermocouple gas valve coil, the easiest non-specialist
test is substitution of a known good gas valve.
Some systems, known as millivolt control systems, extend the thermocouple
concept to both open and close the main gas valve as well. Not only does the
voltage created by the pilot thermocouple activate the pilot gas valve, it is

also routed through a thermostat to power the main gas valve as well. Here,
a larger voltage is needed than in a pilot flame safety system described
above, and a thermopile is used rather than a single thermocouple. Such a
system requires no external source of electricity for its operation and so can
operate during a power failure, provided all the related system components
allow for this. Note that this excludes common forced air furnaces because
external power is required to operate the blower motor, but this feature is
especially useful for un-powered convection heaters. A similar gas shut-off
safety mechanism using a thermocouple is sometimes employed to ensure
that the main burner ignites within a certain time period, shutting off the
main burner gas supply valve should that not happen.
Out of concern for energy wasted by the standing pilot, designers of many
newer appliances have switched to an electronically controlled pilot-less
ignition, also called intermittent ignition. With no standing pilot flame, there
is no risk of gas buildup should the flame go out, so these appliances do not
need thermocouple-based pilot safety switches. As these designs lose the
benefit of operation without a continuous source of electricity, standing pilots
are still used in some appliances. The exception is later model instantaneous
water heaters that use the flow of water to generate the current required to
ignite the gas burner, in conjunction with a thermocouple as a safety cut-off
device in the event the gas fails to ignite, or the flame is extinguished.
Thermopile radiation sensors
Thermopiles are used for measuring the intensity of incident radiation,
typically visible or infrared light, which heats the hot junctions, while the cold
junctions are on a heat sink. It is possible to measure radiative intensities of
only a few W/cm2 with commercially available thermopile sensors. For
example, some laser power meters are based on such sensors.
Thermocouples can generally be used in the testing of prototype electrical
and mechanical apparatus. For example, switchgear under test for its current
carrying capacity may have thermocouples installed and monitored during a
heat run test, to confirm that the temperature rise at rated current does not
exceed designed limits.

Radioisotope thermoelectric generators

Thermopiles can also be applied to generate electricity in radioisotope

thermoelectric generators.
Process plants
Chemical production and petroleum refineries will usually employ computers
for logging and limit testing the many temperatures associated with a
process, typically numbering in the hundreds. For such cases a number of
thermocouple leads will be brought to a common reference block (a large
block of copper) containing the second thermocouple of each circuit. The
temperature of the block is in turn measured by a thermistor. Simple
computations are used to determine the temperature at each measured


Thermocouples are used for measurement of high temperature. In alumina
plant thermocouples are used in the calciner to measure the high
temperature. In alumina plant R, J and H type of thermocouples are used for
measurement of high temperature. In the process of calcinations the alumina
is heated to a temperature up to 1100 C to make it free from moisture. So
these thermocouples are capable for measurement of this temperature.

Its normal to be apprehensive about fixing anything to do with a furnace.
Natural gas and flame together can be a hazardous combination to say the
least. While there are precautions to follow, when you install a thermocouple
you are only establishing the electrical current that allows your pilot light to
run safely. You are not working directly on any gas line. The following steps
will show you how to safely install a thermocouple and soon you'll be on your
way to becoming a plumber for the day.
First thing to do is to manually shut off the gas supply valve to the furnace.
Remove the furnace access panel. You will need to get full visualization of
the thermocouple/pilot light junction so it may be necessary to remove an

additional access panel that covers up the burners. Once you've located the
thermocouple begin to loosen the nut located directly underneath the
thermocouple. This will have a copper wire coming out of it. In some furnaces
the pilot light is located further away from the panels and you may have to
remove the bracket that attaches the thermocouple/pilot light component to
the burner. After you unscrew the bracket from the burner you can bring the
component closer to you so it is easier to loosen the nut keeping the
thermocouple in place.
Now you can slide the thermocouple out of its steel sleeve. Follow the copper
wire back from the thermocouple and you will see that the other end
connects to the gas valve (usually with a red knob for the pilot light on/off
control). Loosen this nut and fully remove the thermocouple component from
the furnace.
The hard part is over. You are now ready to install the new thermocouple.
Slide the new thermocouple up inside the steel sleeve near the pilot light.
Tighten the nut to the bracket. If you removed the bracket from the burner
earlier, screw the bracket back in with the new thermocouple already tight.
Now you can tighten the nut connecting the wire to the gas valve. The
copper wire is pliable so just move it so it is out of the way of other wires or
furnace components that might damage it. Check once more to ensure the
nuts have been properly tightened then replace the panel covering the
burner if you've removed it. Now you can test out the thermocouple. Turn on
the gas valve feeding the furnace back to the open position. Turn the red
knob on the gas valve to the pilot setting. Push and hold the button in. Ignite
the pilot light with a long tipped butane lighter. The pilot light should stay lit
after you let go of the red button.
Additional tips
Vertical installation is preferred in very high temperatures to avoid protection
tube or element sagging.
Install thermocouples away from AC power lines to prevent electrical noise.
Do not run thermocouple wires in the same conduit with electrical wires.
Do not run a single thermocouple to two different instruments. This will result
in instrument imbalance.
A dual thermocouple should be used instead.

Industrial Assemblies

In most process applications the temperature

sensor is inserted into a thermowell or
protection tube. This protects the sensor from
its environment and facilitates easy removal
and replacement. These assemblies generally
consist of a head, nipple-union-nipple and
thermo well. Smart industrial thermocouples
and RTDs are available in virtually any
calibration and resistance temperature


Threaded Wells

Socket Wells

Step Down

Step Down





Flanged Wells

Sanitary Well

Pipe Well

Step Down





Weld in Well

High Temperature Protection


Why choose one T/C over another
The usual goals in picking a thermocouple type are to provide an adequate
measurement over
the longest possible life, and at the lowest cost. It is prudent, for such
comparisons, to consider
the total cost over some suitable time period. It is easy to overlook such
hidden costs as
maintenance, testing, and replacement, or loss of production due to down
time or as a result of
inaccurate readings. Other factors in making the best choice might be the
availability of
instrumentation, and sometimes a need to standardize on the thermocouple
type or types to
be used at a given site.

Service life
Useful thermocouple life is a very difficult prediction to make, even when
most of the details of an application are known. And unfortunately, such

information is often very hard to determine. The very best test for any
application is to actually install, use, and evaluate the in-use performance a
design that is thought likely to succeed. The recommendations, and nonrecommendations, listed under the thermocouple type descriptions are a
good starting place to pick a type to try.


Small size.
Convenient to mounting. It can be mounted on wall.
Low cost expandable.
Rugged - can take off use.
Wide range from near absolute zero to over 5000F.
Fairly accurate, calibration easily performed.
Signal can be used by recording instrument.
Long transmission distances are feasible.


Stray pickup a factor.

Calibration must match temperature emf relationship.
Must avoid temperature gradients.
Not as simple as direct reading thermometers. 70f nominal minimum

A key to the successful use of thermocouples is the understanding of how and why they
operate. Once the basic principle

namely distributed generation of the thermocouples emf,

driven by the temperature gradients, or differences, through which the wires pass

is known

and understood, applying thermocouples to most applications becomes straightforward and


Commercially available thermocouples are standardized by letter-designated type and by

tolerance levels of conformance to published tables or curves of emf versus temperature.
Custom calibration of thermocouple materials is available to answer needs more critical than
can be covered by the usual tolerance grades.

An important fact to be remembered is that laboratory calibration of thermo elements is

predicated upon good uniformity or homogeneity of the thermo element being tested. New
materials will possess this property, but used materials may not, so it is not normally possible to
recalibrate used thermocouples. This is particularly true for base metal types after use at high

Thermocouples are available in an almost endless variety of constructions and configurations. It

is possible and practical to connect them in special ways to sense either temperature differences
or temperature averages over a number of sites. It is even possible to gang these devices
together to boost the amount of electrical signal arising from small temperature differences. But
applications like these are specialized. The major use for thermocouples is to make reliable and
direct measurements of temperature in many diverse applications.\

Thermocouples are fundamentally simple devices. They are extremely versatile and rugged, and
are capable of operating over a very wide range of temperatures. Thermocouples can be made
to very tiny dimensions and into many different forms for standard or special purposes. In
addition, they are low in cost and are readily interchanged or replaced. But they do need to be
understood, so that they will measure the quantity that is desired with the precision that is


1. ^ "Thermocouple temperature sensors". Retrieved 2007-11-04.
2. ^ a b Ramsden, Ed (September 1, 2000). "Temperature measurement".
Sensors. Retrieved 2010-02-19.
3. ^ "Technical Notes: Thermocouple Accuracy". IEC 5842(1982)+A1(1989). Retrieved
4. ^ a b c "NIST ITS-90 Thermocouple Database".
5. ^ a b Baker, Bonnie C. (September 1, 2000). "Designing the embedded
temperature circuit to meet the system's requirements". Sensors.
Retrieved 2010-04-26.
6. ^ "Thermocouple Calibration, Microstar Laboratories"
7. ^ Manual on the Use of Thermocouples in Temperature Measurements.
ASTM, 1974

8. ^ Buschow, K. H. J.Encyclopedia of materials : science and technology,

Elsevier, 2001 ISBN 0-08-043152-6 page 5021 table 1

1 Bauxite unloading and crushing
2 Ball mill
3 Critical speed
4 Desilication
5 Digestion technology
6 Clarification
7 Precipitation
8 Calciner