Showing posts with label temperature sensor. Show all posts
Showing posts with label temperature sensor. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

What Kind of Thermocouple Should I Use?

Temperature measurementWhat kind of thermocouple should I use? Depends on several variables related to the system to be tracked, such as its media / process environment compatibility, the frequency and precision of the necessary measurements, and the regulatory climate in your sector.

Temperature measurement in many industries, from refining to pharmaceuticals to aerospace, is a key parameter in manufacturing and processing operations. Precise temperature monitoring helps to ensure safe, efficient and optimal results.

A thermocouple is invariably the measuring tool of choice for applications above 1400° F, but the selection of the ideal industrial thermocouple also requires knowledge of the process where the device will be used.

INTERFACE WITH PROCESS

First, consider whether the thermocouple is itself in direct contact with the process media or whether it is incorporated into a thermocouple assembly that includes a thermowell. Thermowells are metal, glass, or ceramic tubes that protect the thermocouple against corrosive, fast-flowing or highly hot process media. About 75% of heavy industry thermocouples use thermowell assemblies; these industries include refining, petrochemical, the pulp and paper industry, and power generation.

JUNCTION

The thermocouple junction design depends on the applications requirements for response speed and the likelihood of electrical noise being conducted through the process. A thermocouple has three variations of sensing tip (or junction): Exposed junction, where the exposed wire tips and welded bead have no covering or protection; Grounded junction, where the welded bead is in physical contact with the thermocouple's sheath; Ungrounded junction, where the tip is inside the thermocouple sheath, but is electrical (and somewhat thermally) insulated from the sheath (no sheath contact).

MATERIAL SELECTION

Material selection is the second criteria to choose. A vast majority of industrial thermocouples are made from stainless steel, but specialized alloys such as Inconel 600, Hastelloy X, Monel,  and other unique metals are required in certain applications.

MOUNTING

Next, you have to consider the mounting arrangement. You need to determine whether a more traditional industrial thermocouple/well/head design is required, or if some sort of flexible or remote thermocouple sensor is required for use in a hard to access area.

TYPE

Last, you have to decide the "type" of industrial thermocouple you need. In the case of thermocouples, "type" refers to the composition of metal wires in the instrument whose physical properties respond to changes in temperature. Different metal compositions have different temperature ranges and other properties that make them suitable for use in special applications, or inappropriate for use.

  • Type J thermocouples use iron for the positive leg and copper-nickel (constantin) alloys for the negative leg. They may be used unprotected where there is an oxygen-deficient atmosphere, but a thermowell is recommended for cleanliness and generally longer life. Because the iron (positive leg) wire oxidizes rapidly at temperatures over 1000 deg.F, manufacturers recommend using larger gauge wires to extend the life of the thermocouple when temperatures approach the maximum operating temperature.
  • Type K thermocouples use chromium-nickel alloys for the positive leg and copper alloys for the negative leg. They are reliable and relatively accurate over a wide temperature range. It is a good practice to protect Type K thermocouples with a suitable ceramic tube, especially in reducing atmospheres. In oxidizing atmospheres, such as electric arc furnaces, tube protection may not be necessary as long as other conditions are suitable; however, manufacturers still recommend protection for cleanliness and prevention of mechanical damage. Type K thermocouples generally outlast Type J, because the iron wire in a Type J thermocouple oxidizes rapidly at higher temperatures.
  • Type N thermocouples use nickel alloys for both the positive and negative legs to achieve operation at higher temperatures, especially where sulfur compounds are present. They provide better resistance to oxidation, leading to longer service life overall.
  • Type T thermocouples use copper for the positive leg and copper-nickel alloys for the negative leg. They can be used in either oxidizing or reducing atmospheres, but, again, manufacturers recommend the use of thermowells. These are good stable thermocouples for lower temperatures.
  • Types S, R, and B thermocouples use noble metals for the leg wires and are able to perform at higher temperatures than the common Types J and K. They are, however, easily contaminated, and reducing atmospheres are particularly detrimental to their accuracy. Manufacturers of such thermocouples recommend gas-tight ceramic tubes, secondary porcelain protective tubes, and a silicon carbide or metal outer protective tube depending on service locations.
For more information about industrial thermocouples, contact Duro-Sense Corporation. Call them at 310-533-6877 or visit their web site at https://duro-sense.com.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Duro-Sense Corporation: Celebrating Our 40th Year in Business

Duro-Sense designs and manufactures temperature sensors and assemblies used in power generation, plastics production, semiconductor processing, environmental control, packaging, aerospace, medical equipment, foodservice equipment and a myriad of other industries. Duro-Sense partners with customers to optimize their temperature sensing processes, thereby assisting in improving their customers efficiency and profitability.

Since 1979, Duro-Sense has grown exponentially in product capability and market experience. The company today continues to succeed by operating under a simple core value – providing customers with superior products, meticulously engineered for their individual requirements.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Duro-Sense: A Long History of Solving Tough Temperature Sensing Problems

Duro-Sense Temperature SensorsWith engineering, design, and support resources available at their headquarters in Southern California, Duro-Sense delivers value-added temperature sensing solutions that improve operations and increase profitability for customers in the power generation, alternative energy, plastics, medical, gas & oil, chemical, refining, mining, agricultural, food service, pharmaceutical, and aerospace industries.

Duro-Sense offers their customers products and services designed to provide outstanding value and cost savings throughout the customer's equipment life span. By integrating the highest quality standards, state-of-the-art machinery, and decades of application experience, Duro-Sense assists customers through:
  • Improved product quality
  • Optimize asset uptime and performance 
  • Lower total cost of operation and maintenance
  • Increase equipment reliability
  • Improve plant and personnel safety

ENGINEERING AND TECHNICAL SERVICES

Technical Analysis — Duro-Sense can identify temperature sensor operational issues that may be constraining output or elevating operating costs, and then recommend laser-focused solutions.

Reliability and Efficiency Services — Duro-Sense lends their decades of hands-on experience to offer practical temperature sensing solutions that improve the performance, efficiency, and reliability of your process control equipment - all while lowering your total cost of ownership.

Loop Design, Integration and Engineering Support — Duro-Sense engineers engage with their customers, providing support for grassroots project planning, system design, or project management requirements.

Equipment Life Cycle Optimization — Through a combination of assessments and technology, Duro-Sense experts help customers benchmark operational performance, define key metrics, and implement precise sensor solutions to achieve long-term operational goals.

Intelligent Product Design — By employing an array of sophisticated products, services, and software that collects, examines and understands data, Duro-Sense helps customers use predictive analytics to take action and improve asset reliability and reduce downtime.

Have a challenging temperature sensing requirement? Call Duro-Sense.

Duro-Sense Corporation
310-533-6877

Friday, May 24, 2019

Quick Comparison of Temperature Sensors


Thermocouples are commonly used because of their simplicity, reliability, and relative low cost. They are self-powered and eliminate the need for a separate sensor power supply. Thermocouples are quite durable when selected for a given application appropriately. Thermocouples can also be used for applications with high temperatures.

Resistance temperature detectors (RTDs) are attractive alternatives to thermocouples when the output is desired to be highly accurate, stable and linear (i.e. just how close the calibration curve looks a straight line). The superior linearity of relative temperature resistance enables simpler signal processing devices for RTDs than thermocouples.

Thermistors are similar to RTD because they're a resistance measurement device, but thermistors use a very cheap polymer or ceramic material as the element in lieu of the use of pure metal.

For more information on any type of industrial or OEM temperature sensor, contact Duro-Sense by calling 310-533-6877 or by visiting https://duro-sense.com.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Theory of RTD Operation

Theory of RTD OperationAn RTD is a temperature measuring device that changes resistance with temperature change, rather than changing voltage, as with a thermocouple.

Most commonly used is the platinum 100 ohm RTD because of their stability in air and linearity. Their resistance is 100 ohms @ 0 Deg.C and increases with temperature.

Theory of RTD OperationCommon terms associated with RTD’s are temperature coefficient or alpha, and tolerance class.

Alpha is ohms per ohm per Deg.C.
The average resistance change per unit of temperature from boiling point to ice point of water:

  • Rboiling – Rice point/100deg/100ohms
  • 138.5 – 100.0/100/100 = .00385


Tolerance class is the amount an RTD will differ from the standard resistance curve per Deg.C.

  • Class A (+/- .15 + .002*t)
  • @ temp of 100DegC = +/- .35DegC

When ordering an RTD, a tolerance class will be part of the order, dependent on the application. IEC 751 stipulates that the RTD be marked with their nominal R0 value, their tolerance class, the wiring configuration and the temperature range.
Theory of RTD Operation
3-wire configuration

  • Pt100 / A / 3 / -100/+200  = Platinum 100 Ohm / Class A / 3-Wire / -100 to +200 Deg.C
The most common RTD configuration is the 3-wire type. This configuration is more than adequate for 99.9% of applications. If absolute accuracy is needed, a fourth wire can be introduced, but rarely is it worth the added cost.
Theory of RTD Operation
2-wire configuration

Another configuration is a two wire RTD with a stand-alone loop. (Probably rarely used today).

Since the RTD is a resistance device, the resistance of the wires used to connect the RTD to the measurement meter introduces errors and must be known. This is the reason a third (or fourth), wire is used.

Theory of RTD Operation
3rd wire used to cancel wire error
First the meter reads the resistance of the two common wires to determine the value of Rwire. For a three wire RTD, it is assumed that this resistance is the same as that of one common and one non-common wire.

Then the meter reads the resistance of one of the common wires, the RTD, and the non-common wire to determine Rtotal

Theory of RTD Operation
Meter reading 2 common wires
Meter electronics and software then subtract Rwire from Rtotal to get Rt which is then converted to a temperature.


Theory of RTD Operation





Rt = Rtotal – Rwire



Friday, February 15, 2019

Temperature Sensing IS Rocket Science


Duro-Sense Corporation provides the precision temperature sensors to the aerospace, aviation, and space industries. Duro-Sense engineers bring proven solutions to your most difficult problems. Their R&D department is staffed with some of the industry's most qualified people, working in the most modern facilities to help advance the state of the art in temperature measurement.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Thermocouples

thermocouple circuit
Diagram of a thermocouple circuit.
A thermocouple is a temperature measurement sensor. Thermocouples are made of two different metal wires, joined to form a junction at one end. The connection is placed on the surface or in the measured environment. As the temperature changes, the two different metals start to deform and cause resistance changes. A thermocouple naturally outputs a millivolt signal, so that the change in voltage can be measured as the resistance changes. Thermocouples are desirable because they are extremely low cost, easy to use and can provide precise measurements.

thermocouple
Typical sheathed thermocouple.
Thermocouples are produced in a variety of styles, such as sheathed, washer type, bayonet,  mineral insulated, hollow tube, food piercing, bare wire thermocouples or even thermocouple made from thermocouple wire only.

Because of their wide range of models and technical specifications, it is extremely important to understand their basic structure, functionality and range in order to better determine the right thermocouple type and material for an application.

Operating Principle

When two wires consisting of different metals are connected at both ends and one end is heated, a continuous current flows through the thermoelectric circuit. If this circuit is broken in the center, the net open circuit voltage (Seebeck Effect) depends on the temperature of the junction and the composition of the two metals. This means that a voltage is produced when the connection of the two metals is heated or cooled that can be correlated to the temperature.

Contact Duro-Sense Corporation with any questions about applying industrial and commercial thermocouples.

Duro-Sense Corporation
https://duro-sense.com
310-533-6877

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Overview of Thermocouple Types and Ranges

Thermocouples have been classified by the International Society of Automation (formerly Instrument Society of America) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), and are available for temperatures ranging from -200 deg. to 1700 deg.C (-330 deg. to 3100 deg.F). These standard tolerance thermocouples range in tolerance from ±0.5 percent to ±2 percent of true temperature. The table below presents commonly available thermocouple types and operating ranges.
Thermocouple ranges
Commonly Available Thermocouple Types and Operating Ranges
Thermocouples must be selected to meet the conditions of the application. Thermocouple and extension wires (used to transmit the voltage from the thermocouple to the monitoring point) are generally specified and ordered by their ANSI letter designations for wire types. Positive and negative legs are identified by the letter suffixes P and N, respectively. General size and type recommendations are based on length of service, temperature, type of atmosphere (gas or liquid constituents), and desired response times. Smaller wire gauges provide faster response but do not last as long under adverse conditions. Conversely, larger gauges provide longer service life but with longer response times. Thermowells and sheaths are recommended by thermocouple manufacturers for the extension of thermocouple life. Instruments used to convert thermocouple voltage to temperature scales are coded using the same letter designations. Failure to use matching thermocouples and instruments will result in erroneous readings.

Thermocouple standardsType J thermocouples use iron for the positive leg and copper-nickel (constantin) alloys for the negative leg. They may be used unprotected where there is an oxygen-deficient atmosphere, but a thermowell is recommended for cleanliness and generally longer life. Because the iron (positive leg) wire oxidizes rapidly at temperatures over 1000 deg.F, manufacturers recommend using larger gauge wires to extend the life of the thermocouple when temperatures approach the maximum operating temperature.

Type K thermocouples use chromium-nickel alloys for the positive leg and copper alloys for the negative leg. They are reliable and relatively accurate over a wide temperature range. It is a good practice to protect Type K thermocouples with a suitable ceramic tube, especially in reducing atmospheres. In oxidizing atmospheres, such as electric arc furnaces, tube protection may not be necessary as long as other conditions are suitable; however, manufacturers still recommend protection for cleanliness and prevention of mechanical damage. Type K thermocouples generally outlast Type J, because the iron wire in a Type J thermocouple oxidizes rapidly at higher temperatures.

Type N thermocouples use nickel alloys for both the positive and negative legs to achieve operation at higher temperatures, especially where sulfur compounds are present. They provide better resistance to oxidation, leading to longer service life overall.

Type T thermocouples use copper for the positive leg and copper-nickel alloys for the negative leg. They can be used in either oxidizing or reducing atmospheres, but, again, manufacturers recommend the use of thermowells. These are good stable thermocouples for lower temperatures.

Types S, R, and B thermocouples use noble metals for the leg wires and are able to perform at higher temperatures than the common Types J and K. They are, however, easily contaminated, and reducing atmospheres are particularly detrimental to their accuracy. Manufacturers of such thermocouples recommend gas-tight ceramic tubes, secondary porcelain protective tubes, and a silicon carbide or metal outer protective tube depending on service locations.

For more information about thermocouples, contact Duro-Sense Corporation by visiting https://duro-sense.com or calling 310-533-6877.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Advantage and Disadvantages of Common Temperature Sensors

THERMOCOUPLE

thermocouple
Thermocouple
Due to their simplicity, reliability, and relatively low cost, thermocouples are widely used. They are self-powered, eliminating the need for a separate power supply to the sensor. Thermocouples are fairly durable when they are appropriately chosen for a given application. Thermocouples also can be used in high-temperature applications.

Thermocouple Advantages:
  • Self-powered
  • Simple
  • Rugged
  • Inexpensive
  • Many applications
  • Wide temperature range
  • Fast response
Thermocouple Disadvantages:
  • Nonlinear output signal
  • Low voltage
  • Reference required
  • Accuracy is function of two separate measurements
  • Least sensitive
  • Sensor cannot be recalibrated
  • Least stable

RTD

RTD
RTD
Resistance temperature detectors are attractive alternatives to thermocouples when high accuracy, stability, and linearity (i.e., how closely the calibration curve resembles a straight line) of output are desired. The superior linearity of relative resistance response to temperature allows simpler signal processing devices to be used with RTD’s than with thermocouples. Resistance Temperature Detector’s can withstand temperatures up to approximately 800 C (~1500 F).

RTD Advantages:
  • More stable at moderate temperatures
  • High levels of accuracy
  • Relatively linear output signal
RTD Disadvantages:
  • Expensive
  • Self-heating
  • Lower temperature range

THERMISTOR

Thermistor
Thermistor
Thermistors work similarly to RTD’s in that they are a resistance measuring device, but instead of using pure metal, thermistors use a very inexpensive polymer or ceramic material as the element.

Thermistor Advantages:
  • High output
  • Fast
  • Two-wire ohms measurement
Thermistor Disadvantages:
  • Nonlinear
  • Limited temperature range
  • Fragile
  • Current source required
  • Self-heating

Monday, September 10, 2018

Thermowells

Thermowell
Thermowell (Duro-Sense)
One of the most important accessories for any temperature-sensing element is a pressure-tight sheath known as a thermowell. This may be thought of as a thermally conductive protrusion into a process vessel or pipe allowing a temperature-sensitive instrument to detect process temperature without opening a hole in the vessel or pipe. Thermowells are critically important for installations where the temperature element (RTD, thermocouple, etc.) must be replaceable without de-pressurizing the process.

Thermowells may be made out of any material that is thermally conductive, pressure-tight, and not chemically reactive with the process. Most thermowells are formed out of either metal (stainless steel or other alloy) or ceramic materials. A simple diagram showing a thermowell in use with a temperature sensor (RTD) is shown here:
Thermowell

As useful as thermowells are, they are not without their caveats. All thermowells, no matter how well they may be installed, increase the first-order time lag of the temperature sensor by virtue of their mass and specific heat value. It should be intuitively obvious that a few pounds of metal will not heat up and cool down as fast as a few ounces’ worth of RTD or thermocouple, and therefore the addition of a thermowell to the sensing element will decrease the responsiveness of any temperature- sensing element. What is not so obvious is that such time lags, if severe enough, may compromise the stability of feedback control. A control system receiving a “delayed” temperature measurement will not see the live temperature of the process in real time due to this lag.

Thermowell
RTD with Thermowell 
A potential problem with thermowells is incorrect installation of the temperature-sensing element. The element must be inserted with full contact at the bottom of the thermowell’s blind hole. If any air gap is allowed to exist between the end of the temperature element and the bottom of the thermowell’s hole, this will add a second time lag to the measurement system26. Some thermowells include a spring clip in the bottom of the blind hole to help maintain constant metal-to-metal contact between the sensing element and the thermowell wall.

Reprinted from Lessons In Industrial Instrumentation by Tony R. Kuphaldt – under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Temperature Transmitters

Temperature Transmitters
Temperature Transmitters (Duro-Sense)
A temperature transmitter is generally described as a device, which on the input side is connected to some sort of temperature sensor and on the output side generates a signal that is amplified and modified in different ways. Normally the output signal is directly proportional to the measured temperature within a defined measurement range. Many additional features can be added depending on the type of transmitter being used. The features of the temperature transmitter are often described by using different terms with respect to technology, mounting method, functions, etc. The following list is a brief summary of these terms.

Analog Transmitters: These transmitters are designed on analog circuit technology. They normally offer basic functions such as temperature linearization and sensor break technology. Sometimes they are adjustable for different measuring ranges, often with a fast response time.

Digital Transmitters: This transmitter type is mainly based on a microprocessor. They are often called intelligent transmitters, because they normally offer many extra features, which are not possible to realize in analog transmitters.

In-Head Transmitters: These transmitters are designed for mounting in the connection heads of temperature sensors. All Duro-Sense in-head transmitters fit into DIN B heads or larger. Special care has to be devoted to the ruggedness because of the harsh conditions that sometimes exist.

DIN Rail Transmitters: DIN rail transmitters are designed to be snapped onto a DIN rail. Duro-Sense DIN rail transmitters fit on a 35mm rail according to DIN EN 50022.

RTD Transmitters: RTD transmitters are used only for RTD sensors. (Pt100, Pt1000, Ni100, etc.). Normally they can handle only one RTD type. Most Duro-Sense transmitters can handle more than one type of RTD and are either fix- ranged or adjustable. They all have linear output.

Thermocouple TransmitterThermocouple Transmitters: Thermocouple transmitters measure a MV signal form the thermocouple and compensates for the temperature of the cold junction. The cold junction compensation is normally made by measuring the terminal temperature. Alternatively, some transmitters can be adjusted to compensate for an external fixed cold junction temperature. Pure thermocouple transmitters are often not temperature linearized due to the complicated unlinearity of the thermocouples.

Analog Output: The output signal is a current (4-20mA). Some transmitters are available with 0-20mA or 0-10mA output. The signal is normally proportional to the measured value within a defined measurement range.

Digital Output: The measured value (temperature) is presented as a binary coded message. So called Fieldbus transmitters use this technique. The Fieldbus transmitters on the market today use different standards for the communication thus creating some problems when integrating them with other instrumentation. Examples of standard available are: PROFIBUS, Interbus, Foundation Fieldbus, LonWorks and CAN-bus.

Analog and Digital Output: The HART transmitters have an analog output with a superimposed digital signal on the same wires. Typically, the analog signal is used for normal measurements and the digital signal only for temporary measurements, because of the low communication speed. The digital signal is mainly used for configuration and status information.

Isolated Transmitters: Isolated transmitters have no leading connections between circuits that are isolated from each other. The isolation effectively eliminates the risk for circulating currents and facilitates the connection of transmitters to control systems with grounded inputs.

Non-Isolated Transmitters: These transmitters have leading connections between, for instance, input and output circuits. They should be used with care.

For more information on temperature transmitters, visit https://duro-sense.com or call 310-533-6877.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Video: Comparison of Thermocouples and RTDs

The video below describes the basic differences between industrial thermocouples and RTDs.


Duro-Sense Corporation provides the thermocouples, RTDs, thermowells, and accessories to the aerospace, aviation, process control, medical, R&D, power generation, alternative energy, plastics, primary metals, high-tech and OEM industries.

https://duro-sense.com
310-533-6877

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Reliable, Robust, and Affordable Process Heating Sensors and Controls

process heat sensors
The ability to effectively measure, monitor, and control process heating operations is essential to minimize product variability and maintain product quality. This level of control requires reliable and affordable sensors and control systems that can withstand harsh environments and not require recalibration for at least one year. Process heating could become far more effective with access to more reliable, robust, and affordable sensors and process controls. There is a need for reliable, cost effective sensors for harsh environments and for the real-time measurement of the chemical composition of the fuel, oxidant, and flue gas in combustion processes. Real-time combustion controls for multiple fuel applications could help maximize fuel flexibility, while improved sensors as part of smart control systems could increase efficiency, safety, and reliability. In electromagnetic processes, low cost, robust, and reliable sensors are needed to measure field strength, as well as sensors that can measure process parameters but are immune to direct excitation by the electromagnetic energy.

process heat sensors for industrial plantsTechnology opportunities for sensors and process controls to improve the overall control and
performance of process heating systems include the following:

Sensors for Harsh, High-Temperature Environments: Technologies and methods are needed to reliably monitor and control critical product parameters (temperature, chemistry, pressure, etc.), especially robust sensors to measure critical parameters in harsh combustion environments. This includes direct process measurement sensors, and more accurate and reliable thermocouples and other sensors. The development of sensors that can provide accurate readings in high-temperature environments could enable opportunities to optimize heat transfer and containment systems in those conditions.

Furnace Control: In fuel-fired equipment, reliable sensing and control technologies can provide better fuel utilization, energy savings, temperature control, and system performance over time. This includes sensors that can accurately measure compositional characteristics of fuels and oxidant; low-cost, highly reliable flame monitoring systems to control flame quality and stability; and continuous flue gas analysis. By regulating and stabilizing internal furnace pressure, pressure controllers can eliminate cold air infiltration, maintain uniform temperatures, and reduce wear that would require more frequent and costly maintenance.

Advanced Control Strategies to Optimize Process Heating: Cost-effective smart process controls that can be integrated with the overall manufacturing system are needed. Analysis of flue gases can be used to optimize the inlet fuel/air ratio. By using sensors to measure oxygen and carbon monoxide in the flue gas stream, conditions can be created for ideal combustion scenarios.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Common Terminology Used in Temperature Measurement and Process Control

Terminology Used in Temperature Measurement
Accuracy: The closeness of an indicator or reading of a measurement device to the actual value of the quantity being measured; usually expressed as ± percent of the full scale output or reading.

Drift: The change in output or set point value over long periods of time due to such factors as temperature, voltage, and time.

Hysteresis: The difference in output after a full cycle in which the input value approaches the reference point (conditions) with increasing, then decreasing values or vice versa; it is measured by decreasing the input to one extreme (minimum or maximum value), then to the other extreme, then returning the input to the reference (starting) value.

Linearity: How closely the output of a sensor approximates a straight line when the applied input is linear.

Noise: An unwanted electrical interference on signal wires.

Nonlinearity: The difference between the actual deflection curve of a unit and a straight line drawn between the upper and lower range terminal values of the deflection, expressed as a percentage of full range deflection.

Precision: The degree of agreement between a number of independent observations of the same physical quantity obtained under the same conditions.

Repeatability: The ability of a sensor to reproduce output readings when the same input value is applied to it consecutively under the same conditions.

Resolution: The smallest detectable increment of measurement.

RTD: Abbreviation for "resistance temperature detector". Resistance temperature detectors are temperature sensors that are widely used because of their high accuracy, stability, and linearity. They work on the principle that the resistivity of metals is dependent upon temperature; as temperature increases, resistance increases. Resistance Temperature Detector’s can withstand temperatures up to approximately 800 C (~1500 F).

Sensitivity: The minimum change in input signal to which an instrument can respond. Stability: The ability of an instrument to provide consistent output over an extended
period during which a constant input is applied.

Thermocouple: A temperature sensing device widely used because they are relatively low cost, self-powered, durable and capable sensing high temperatures. Thermocouples generate and micro voltage in relation to temperature change.

Zero balance: The ability of the transducer to output a value of zero at the electronic null
point.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Understanding Dissimilar Metal Junctions and the Need for Reference Junctions

When two dissimilar metal wires are joined together at one end, a voltage is produced at the other end that is approximately proportional to temperature. That is to say, the junction of two different metals behaves like a temperature-sensitive battery. This form of electrical temperature sensor is called a thermocouple:
Dissimilar Metal Junctions

This phenomenon provides us with a simple way to electrically infer temperature: simply measure the voltage produced by the junction, and you can tell the temperature of that junction. And it would be that simple, if it were not for an unavoidable consequence of electric circuits: when we connect any kind of electrical instrument to the thermocouple wires, we inevitably produce another junction of dissimilar metals. The following schematic shows this fact, where the iron-copper junction J1 is necessarily complemented by a second iron-copper junction J2 of opposing polarity:

Dissimilar Metal Junctions

Junction J1 is a junction of iron and copper – two dissimilar metals – which will generate a voltage related to temperature. Note that junction J2, which is necessary for the simple fact that we must somehow connect our copper-wired voltmeter to the iron wire, is also a dissimilar-metal junction which will also generate a voltage related to temperature. Further note how the polarity of junction J2 stands opposed to the polarity of junction J1 (iron = positive ; copper = negative). A third junction (J3) also exists between wires, but it is of no consequence because it is a junction of two identical metals which does not generate a temperature-dependent voltage at all.

The presence of this second voltage-generating junction (J2) helps explain why the voltmeter registers 0 volts when the entire system is at room temperature: any voltage generated by the iron- copper junctions will be equal in magnitude and opposite in polarity, resulting in a net (series-total) voltage of zero. Only when the two junctions J1 and J2 are at different temperatures will the voltmeter register any voltage at all.

We may express this relationship mathematically as follows:  Vmeter = VJ1 − VJ2

With the measurement (J1) and reference (J2) junction voltages opposed to each other, the voltmeter only “sees” the difference between these two voltages.

Thus, thermocouple systems are fundamentally differential temperature sensors. That is, they provide an electrical output proportional to the difference in temperature between two different points. For this reason, the wire junction we use to measure the temperature of interest is called the measurement junction while the other junction (which we cannot eliminate from the circuit) is called the reference junction (or the cold junction, because it is typically at a cooler temperature than the process measurement junction).

For more information on this subject, contact Duro-Sense, Inc. by visiting https://duro-sense.com or by calling 310-533-6877.

Reprinted from "Lessons In Industrial Instrumentation" by Tony R. Kuphaldt – under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Precision RTD's (Resistance Temperature Detectors)

Duro-Sense RTDs, thermowells, and accessories provide high quality solutions to the aerospace, aviation, process control, medical, R&D, power generation, alternative energy, plastics, primary metals, high-tech and OEM industries.

https://duro-sense.com
310-533-6877

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Advantages and Disadvantages of Thermocouples

Industrial thermocouples
Industrial thermocouples in ceramic
protection tubes (Duro-Sense)
Temperature sensors, inherent to their design or operating principle, are often the weakest link in the control loop. Fragility, noise sensitivity, and material deterioration have to be considered when applying temperature sensors. Generally speaking, when it comes to temperature sensing technology, RTDs are more accurate and stable, but are also fragile; thermistors have greater temperature sensitivity, but their electrical properties can change overtime; thermocouples (TC) are rugged, inexpensive, and operate over a wide temperature range, but they do have drawbacks that need to be understood for successful implementation.

The thermocouple's primary disadvantage is their weak output signal and their susceptibility to electrical noise. The mV signal generated is so small it requires conditioning, namely amplification and linearization.  The good news is this conditioning is built-in to and provided by the TC's corresponding controller, indicator or transmitter.  Calibration drift due to oxidation, contamination, or other physical changes to the alloys is another problem associated with thermocouples, requiring a facility to implement periodic recalibration procedures. Lastly, thermocouples require alloy-matching thermocouple extension wire when running lead wires any distance from sensor to instrument. This adds cost, as thermocouple extension wire is more expensive than standard wire.

Despite these concerns, thermocouples are widely used in industry because of their relative low cost, ruggedness, wide selection of operating ranges, and versatility in size, shape, and configuration. They have been used in millions of process control applications for over a generation, and provide an excellent balance of performance, cost, and simplicity. Successful application depends on knowing thermocouple's strengths and weaknesses, and consulting with an applications expert prior to specifying or installing any temperature sensor is always recommended to ensure the sensor's longest life and best performance.