The principle of operation of thermocouple
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How to construct a thermocouple
A thermocouple is a device formed by two different wires joined at one end with a measuring device. These two wires are called thermoelements or legs of the thermocouple. The other end of the thermocouple is called tail end or reference. End of the connection is immersed in a medium, the temperature of which should be easily measured (e.g., oven temperature), while the tail end is held at another temperature, for example at ambient temperature.
Thermocouple, working principle
Due to the difference in temperature between both ends of the thermocouple, a potential difference that can be measured. Thus, the thermocouple is a thermoelectric device that converts heat to potential difference. Conversion rate is determined by the Seebeck coefficient, which depends on the temperature gradient at the ends of the conductors, and the material of the thermoelements. Usually, this is done using a special precision alloys, characterized by a clear dependence between temperature of heating and its own specific electrical resistance of the conductors.
How to measure the readings of thermocouples
When a voltmeter with copper connecting wires is used to measure the voltage drop on the Nickel wire, you need two contacts on the hot and cold ends between the copper wire and Ni-guide; provided that the voltmeter is at room temperature. Then, the copper contact of the voltmeter will experience along the conductor the same temperature difference. Therefore, the measured voltage is actually the voltage drop along the conductor Nickel plus the voltage drop along the copper conductor. Such temperature measurement is considered to be differential.
For reliability of results requires a monotonic temperature dependence compared to the transition point, so that for each temperature at the end of the connection on the tail end creates the tension.
To measure the voltage at the rear, between the thermocouples and a voltmeter connected to two copper leads. Both have the same temperature difference, the resulting voltage drops along each of them. In industrial use the thermocouples cold junction compensator, in which the caudal end is at ambient temperature. It should be underlined that the cold junction compensation can not accurately reproduce the dependence between the measured temperature and the tail end, but only approaches it, but this error is reflected in the design thermostatically devices.
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