Thursday, September 29, 2022

Wire-wound and Thin Film Resistance Temperature Detectors

Wire-wound and Thin Film Resistance Temperature Detectors

The wire-wound platinum resistance thermometer was patented in 1924 and has since become the most popular device for measuring laboratory and industrial process temperatures. RTDs provide high accuracy, long-term stability, repeatability, and integration with electronic controls. As the temperature rises, so does electrical resistance in a very predictable manner. PRTs measure all sorts of processes, from industry to laboratory work. Additionally, the platinum resistance sensor has a linear resistance vs. temperature relationship over a wide operating range of -196°C to 850°C. 

Wire-wound and thin film sensing elements are the two most common forms of RTD sensing elements. Wire-wound sensing components apply in applications requiring high accuracy and long-term stability. The RTD sensor utilizes platinum wire wrapped around a ceramic core and offers various housings designed to give the optimum heat transfer and contact with the process, regardless of whether it is gas, liquid, or solid.

The thin film RTD sensor style is made by depositing a thin layer of platinum on a ceramic plate, then trimming a path with a laser or other techniques to create a narrow ribbon of platinum with a resistance of 100 ohms at 0°C. After that, the leads are joined and protected with glass. As a result, the sensor is relatively small and available in rectangular shapes in various sizes. They are inexpensive and, if properly packaged, can last for years. Long-term stability and repeatability are not as excellent as with wire wound sensors. 

Each sensor type for industrial applications meets the specifications of ASTM 1137 or IEC 60751. The specifications include an ice point (0°C) resistance and a temperature coefficient. The ice point resistance is calculated in a container using an ice bath made of ice and water. There is a tolerance called "interchangeability" associated with this measurement. Various interchangeability bands have label assignations such as A, B, or C, with A being the strictest and C being less tight.

The temperature coefficient of resistance, or TCR, is the amount of resistance change per degree Celsius change in temperature. The TCR of an industrial grade PRT is 0.00385 ohms/ohm/°C. In other words,  there is an average of 0.385 ohms of resistance per degree C of temperature change between 0°C and 100°C. The coefficients used for lab standards are 0.003925 and 0.003902, but the more widely used standard is now 0.00385 for industrial applications. For an accurate reading, you need to match the temperature coefficient and resistance of your PRT with the input requirements of the instrumentation you are using. Not doing this will result in a significant error.

For expert guidance specifying or applying RTD's in your application, contact: