Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Measuring Up to Extremes: An Insight into Rare Metal Thermocouples in High-Temperature Monitoring

Rare Metal Thermocouples

Rare metal thermocouples are thermoelectric pairs made from precious or rare metals, mainly platinum and its alloys. Common examples include Type B, R, and S thermocouples.

  • Type B: Platinum-Rhodium (Pt-30% Rh) vs. Platinum (Pt-6% Rh)
  • Type R: Platinum (Pt-13% Rh) vs. Platinum
  • Type S: Platinum (Pt-10% Rh) vs. Platinum

Principle of Operation:

A thermocouple works based on the Seebeck effect. When two different metals or alloys connect at two different points, and one junction experiences a different temperature, a voltage develops across the junction. This voltage is proportional to the temperature difference between the two junctions. By measuring this voltage, one can infer the temperature at the sensing junction, provided the reference junction's temperature is known.

Critical Characteristics of Rare Metal Thermocouples:

Stability: These thermocouples exhibit excellent stability over time, especially at high temperatures. This stability ensures consistent and accurate temperature readings even after prolonged use.
High-Temperature Range: Rare metal thermocouples can measure temperatures up to 1700°C (3092°F), making them suitable for high-temperature applications.
Cost: They are more expensive than base metal thermocouples due to using precious metals.

Applications in Temperature Sensing:

  • Industrial Furnaces: Manufacturers use rare metal thermocouples in furnaces for their high-temperature stability and accuracy.
  • Aerospace: These thermocouples can monitor temperatures in jet engines and other aerospace components where high-temperature measurements are crucial.
  • Glass and Ceramic Industries: Consistent temperature monitoring ensures product quality in the production and processing of glass and ceramics. Rare metal thermocouples offer the necessary precision and stability for these industries.
  • Research Laboratories: These thermocouples provide the required accuracy and reliability in labs that study materials at high temperatures.
  • Semiconductor Manufacturing: The production of semiconductor devices requires precise temperature control, making rare metal thermocouples a favored choice.
  • Reliability: Rare metal thermocouples offer consistent readings over prolonged periods.
  • Accuracy: Especially in high-temperature applications, these thermocouples provide precise measurements.
  • Cost: Their use of precious metals like platinum makes them more expensive than other types.
  • Drift: Though less than other types, rare metal thermocouples can still experience drift over time, primarily when used at their temperature limits.

In summary, rare metal thermocouples are vital in industries and applications where high temperatures and precision matter most. Their use of precious metals like platinum provides superior stability and accuracy, though at a higher cost than base metal thermocouples.


Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Exploring the Evolving Market for Industrial Thermocouples

Exploring the Evolving Market for Industrial Thermocouples

Over the last decade, the industrial thermocouple market was heavily influenced by the following sectors:
  • Oil & Gas: Thermocouples are widely used in the oil & gas industry for temperature measurement during exploration, drilling, production, refining, and transportation processes.
  • Energy & Power: Thermocouples are extensively used in power plants, including nuclear, thermal, and renewable energy plants, to measure temperature at various stages of energy production.
  • Chemicals & Petrochemicals: In chemical and petrochemical industries, thermocouples play an essential role in temperature measurement during the production and processing of chemicals, fertilizers, plastics, and more.
  • Metallurgy & Steel Production: Thermocouples are vital in steel and other metal production processes, where accurate temperature measurement is crucial for quality control and efficient production.
  • Automotive: Thermocouples are used in automotive manufacturing for various applications, including engine performance monitoring, exhaust system analysis, and brake system testing.
  • Aerospace & Defense: Thermocouples are employed in aerospace and defense applications to monitor the temperature of aircraft engines, rocket propulsion systems, and other critical components.
  • Semiconductor Manufacturing: Thermocouples are used to measure the temperature of semiconductor wafers during manufacturing, essential for producing high-quality integrated circuits.
In the next decade, considering the trends in these industries and emerging technological advancements, the most significant potential markets for industrial thermocouples are likely to be:
  • Renewable Energy: As countries worldwide continue to shift towards renewable energy sources like solar, wind, and hydropower, there will likely be a growing demand for thermocouples to monitor temperature in various renewable energy systems.
  • Electric Vehicles (EVs): The booming EV market is expected to drive the demand for thermocouples, as they monitor battery temperature, motor temperature, and other critical components in electric vehicles.
  • Smart Manufacturing: Adopting Industry 4.0 practices, including automation, IoT, and digitalization, will increase the demand for advanced thermocouples integrated with wireless communication and intelligent features for predictive maintenance and real-time monitoring.
  • Semiconductor Manufacturing: The ongoing advancements in semiconductor technology and the increasing demand for electronics and IoT devices are expected to drive the need for accurate temperature measurement in semiconductor manufacturing.
  • Hydrogen Economy: As countries invest in developing hydrogen as a clean energy source, the hydrogen production, storage, and transportation sectors are expected to require accurate temperature monitoring, leading to increased demand for thermocouples.
Given the current trends and technological advancements, these sectors have the potential to shape the industrial thermocouple market in the next decade.


Wednesday, June 21, 2023

The Thermoelectric Phenomenon: The Working Principle of Thermocouples

The Thermoelectric Phenomenon: The Working Principle of Thermocouples

Thermocouples, the stalwarts of temperature measurement, find extensive use across many industries, from HVAC to metallurgy, owing to their versatility, robustness, and the wide range of temperatures they can measure. These devices, invented in the early 19th century, operate on the thermoelectric or Seebeck effect. This article provides a comprehensive view of thermocouples' underlying principles and workings.

Principles of Thermocouples

Thermocouples work on the principle of the Seebeck effect, discovered by the German physicist Thomas Johann Seebeck in 1821. The Seebeck effect stipulates that when two different metallic wires are connected and exposed to a temperature differential, an electromotive force (EMF) or voltage generates at the junction. The magnitude of this EMF is directly proportional to the temperature difference between the two junctions of the wires.

The materials used in the wires, known as thermoelements, are chosen for their specific Seebeck coefficient, a parameter representing the voltage generated per unit temperature. Different combinations of materials give rise to different types of thermocouples, each suited to different temperature ranges and environments, such as Type K (Chromel-Alumel), Type J (Iron-Constantan), Type T (Copper-Constantan), and so on.

How Thermocouples Work

A fundamental thermocouple consists of two dissimilar metal wires joined at one end, forming a junction. This junction gets exposed to the temperature that needs to be measured, known as the measurement or hot junction. The other ends of the wires connect to a device that can read the EMF generated; this is called the reference or cold junction.

An EMF occurs when the measurement junction experiences a different temperature than the reference junction. This EMF is then translated into a temperature reading using the specific Seebeck coefficient for the materials involved. This principle is simple but powerful enough to measure a broad spectrum of temperatures from cryogenic to thousands of degrees Celsius.

It's important to note that the reference junction at a known, stable temperature or its temperature is otherwise measured because the EMF generated is proportional to the temperature difference between the two junctions, not the absolute temperature at the measurement junction. If the temperature at the reference junction changes, it will affect the EMF and, thus, the temperature reading at the measurement junction.

For instance, modern digital thermocouple meters often incorporate a separate temperature sensor at the reference junction. This sensor compensates for changes in the reference junction temperature, allowing the meter to calculate and display the absolute temperature at the measurement junction.

The versatility, durability, and broad temperature range of thermocouples are due to the fundamental principles of the Seebeck effect and the variety of thermoelements available. Although the principles underpinning their operation are nearly two centuries old, thermocouples remain one of the most widely used temperature sensors in today's high-tech world. Translating tiny EMFs into temperature readings is indispensable in various industrial, scientific, and domestic applications.


Direct: 310-533-6877

Fax: 310-533-0330

869 Sandhill Avenue

Carson, California 90746

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Looking for High Accuracy in Temperature Measurement?

Looking for High Accuracy in Temperature Measurement?

Industrial temperature measurement is a critical aspect of many processes, including manufacturing, processing, and energy production. The choice of temperature sensor is vital to ensure accuracy, reliability, and durability. Several types of temperature sensors are available, including Resistance Temperature Detectors (RTDs), Thermocouples, Thermistors, and Infrared Sensors. Each sensor type has its unique strengths and weaknesses. However, after a thorough analysis, RTDs generally offer the highest level of accuracy in industrial settings.

RTDs (Resistance Temperature Detectors) are temperature sensors that use the predictable increase or decrease in electrical resistance of some materials with rising or falling temperatures. The most common RTD type is platinum (Pt100 or Pt1000) due to its stability, repeatability, and nearly linear temperature-resistance relationship. RTDs have a typical accuracy within ±0.1°C, making them among the most accurate temperature sensors available.

Thermocouples are a type of temperature sensor made from two dissimilar metals joined together at one end, and changes in temperature cause a small voltage, which can be measured and interpreted. While they are robust and can handle extreme temperatures, their accuracy is lower than that of RTDs, generally within ±0.5°C to ±2°C.

Thermistors are temperature-sensitive resistors, typically made from ceramic or polymer. While they can offer high accuracy, they have a non-linear response and a limited temperature range, making them less suitable for broad industrial applications.

Infrared sensors measure temperature by capturing the infrared energy emitted by an object. They are non-contact sensors, which can be advantageous in certain situations, but they also require a clear line of sight and can be affected by dust, fog, or other environmental factors.

RTDs are the primary choice for high-accuracy industrial temperature sensing for several reasons:

  1. Their accuracy is superior to most other types, typically within ±0.1°C.
  2. They exhibit good long-term stability, making them reliable over the lifespan of many industrial processes.
  3. Platinum RTDs are highly repeatable and have a nearly linear temperature-resistance relationship, making them easy to interpret and integrate into control systems.

However, it's important to note that the choice of the sensor should ultimately depend on the specifics of the application, including the temperature range, required accuracy, environmental conditions, and budget. Thermocouples, for instance, might be more suitable for high-temperature applications, and infrared sensors may be necessary when a non-contact measurement is required.

In conclusion, RTDs are recommended for a broad range of industrial applications requiring high accuracy, stability, and repeatability. Nevertheless, a careful evaluation of the specific requirements of each application should always be carried out before making a final decision.


Direct: 310-533-6877

Fax: 310-533-0330

869 Sandhill Avenue

Carson, California 90746

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Head Mount Thermocouple and RTD Transmitters

Head Mount Thermocouple and RTD Transmitters

A head mount transmitter is a device used in temperature sensing systems that converts the signal generated by a thermocouple or a Resistance Temperature Detector (RTD) into a standardized output signal, typically 4-20 mA or a digital protocol like HART or Foundation Fieldbus. The transmitter is usually installed in a connection head, which is mounted directly on the temperature sensor assembly, hence the term "head mount."

Thermocouples and RTDs are commonly used temperature sensors. Thermocouples work on the principle of the Seebeck effect, where a voltage generates due to the temperature difference between two dissimilar metals. On the other hand, RTDs work on the principle that the electrical resistance of material changes with temperature.

The value provided by a head mount transmitter in temperature sensing includes:

  1. Signal conditioning: The raw signal from the temperature sensor (mV for thermocouples or Ohms for RTDs) can be weak and susceptible to noise, interference, and degradation over long distances. The transmitter amplifies and conditions the signal, ensuring a more robust and reliable transmission.
  2. Linearization: The relationship between temperature and the sensor output (voltage or resistance) may not be linear. The transmitter linearizes the signal, providing a more accurate representation of the measured temperature.
  3. Standardization: By converting the sensor output into a standardized signal, such as 4-20 mA, the transmitter allows easier integration with other process control equipment, like controllers, recorders, and display units.
  4. Temperature compensation: The transmitter can compensate for temperature-related errors that may occur in the sensor, such as cold junction compensation in thermocouples, ensuring higher accuracy in the measurement.
  5. Digital communication: Some transmitters have digital communication capabilities, allowing for remote configuration, calibration, and diagnostics, as well as providing additional information, such as sensor health and status.

A head mount transmitter is essential in temperature sensing systems, providing signal conditioning, linearization, standardization, temperature compensation, and digital communication capabilities. It improves the temperature measurement system's accuracy, reliability, and performance.

Duro-Sense Corp.



Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Thermocouples and RTDs: Understanding Their Uses in Industrial Temperature Sensing

Thermocouples and RTDs

Various industrial applications widely use thermocouples and RTDs for temperature measurement. The choice of which to use depends on the application's specific requirements. Here are some industrial applications where one may be better suited than the other:

Industrial Applications where Thermocouples are better suited:

  • High-temperature measurements: Thermocouples can measure temperatures ranging from -270°C to 2700°C and are more suitable for high-temperature measurements than RTDs.
  • Quick response: Thermocouples have a faster response time than RTDs and are suitable for measuring fast-changing temperature processes.
  • Harsh environments: Thermocouples can withstand harsh environments, such as high-pressure environments, corrosive or abrasive materials, and vibration, making them more suitable for applications where the temperature probe becomes exposed to such environments.
  • Low cost: Thermocouples are relatively inexpensive compared to RTDs, making them a preferred choice in cost-sensitive applications.

Industrial Applications where RTDs are better suited:

  • High accuracy: RTDs have higher accuracy than thermocouples and are, therefore, more suitable for applications that require precise temperature measurements.
  • Stable and repeatable: RTDs are stable over time and offer repeatable measurements, making them a better choice for applications where process control is critical.
  • Wide temperature range: Although RTDs have a lower temperature range than thermocouples, they can still measure temperatures as low as -200°C, making them more suitable for low-temperature applications.
  • Longer lifespan: RTDs have a longer lifespan than thermocouples and are a better choice for applications where longevity is critical.

Examples of industrial applications for thermocouples:

  • Steel industry: For measuring temperature in furnaces and blast furnaces.
  • Petrochemical industry: For measuring temperature in pipelines, storage tanks, and reactors.
  • Power generation: For measuring temperature in turbines and boilers.
  • Glass industry: For measuring temperature in glass furnaces.

Examples of industrial applications for RTDs:

  • Pharmaceutical industry: For measuring temperature in bioreactors and other critical process equipment.
  • Food industry: For measuring temperature in food processing equipment.
  • Aerospace industry: For measuring temperature in aircraft engines and other high-precision applications.
  • Laboratory and research applications: For measuring temperature in calibration and testing equipment.

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

What is a "Plastics Thermocouple"?

Plastics Thermocouple

Plastics extruders and injection molding machines are the machineries used in the plastics industry to produce plastic products.

A plastics extruder is a machine that melts plastic pellets or granules and pushes the melted plastic through a shaping die to form a continuous profile, such as a pipe, tubing, or window frame. This process is called extrusion. Extruders make a wide range of products, including plastic film, sheeting, and tube.

On the other hand, an injection molding machine injects molten plastic into a mold, where it cools and solidifies to take the shape of the mold. This process is called injection molding. Injection molding makes a wide variety of products, including plastic bottles, containers, and other household items.

Both machines have a barrel and a screw that melts the plastic and pushes it through the equipment. The barrel heats to a specific temperature, and the screw rotates, mixing and melting the plastic. The melted plastic is forced through the nozzle and into the mold or die.

Temperature control on the barrels and nozzles of plastics extruders and injection molding machines is crucial for producing high-quality, consistent plastic products.

The barrel and nozzle are the machine parts where the plastic heats to the melting point before extruding or injected into the mold. If the temperature is too low, the plastic may not melt fully or have the correct viscosity for proper processing, resulting in defects in the final product, such as voids, weak spots, or uneven surfaces.

On the other hand, if the temperature is too high, the plastic may degrade, resulting in reduced strength, discoloration, and other defects. Additionally, overheating the plastic can cause it to degrade, which can release harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air and contribute to air pollution.

Overall, precise temperature control is essential for ensuring that the plastic heats to the correct temperature and that the final product has the desired properties, such as strength, flexibility, and appearance.

A thermocouple is a device used to measure temperature. A "plastics thermocouple" refers to a thermocouple used in the plastics industry, used to measure the temperature of plastics during various stages of the manufacturing process, such as during injection molding or extrusion. This information ensures that plastics experience the correct temperature, which can affect the properties and quality of the final product. Plastics thermocouples also monitor and control the temperature of the injection molding machines' barrels and nozzles and monitor the plastic's temperature during the extrusion process.