Thermocouple vs. Thermometer

By Jaxson

Main Difference

The main difference between Thermocouple and Thermometer is that the Thermocouple is a thermoelectric device and Thermometer is a device to measure temperature.

  • Thermocouple

    A thermocouple is an electrical device consisting of two dissimilar electrical conductors forming electrical junctions at differing temperatures. A thermocouple produces a temperature-dependent voltage as a result of the thermoelectric effect, and this voltage can be interpreted to measure temperature. Thermocouples are a widely used type of temperature sensor.

    Commercial thermocouples are inexpensive, interchangeable, are supplied with standard connectors, and can measure a wide range of temperatures. In contrast to most other methods of temperature measurement, thermocouples are self powered and require no external form of excitation. The main limitation with thermocouples is accuracy; system errors of less than one degree Celsius (°C) can be difficult to achieve.

    Thermocouples are widely used in science and industry. Applications include temperature measurement for kilns, gas turbine exhaust, diesel engines, and other industrial processes. Thermocouples are also used in homes, offices and businesses as the temperature sensors in thermostats, and also as flame sensors in safety devices for gas-powered appliances.

  • Thermometer

    A thermometer is a device that measures temperature or a temperature gradient. A thermometer has two important elements: (1) a temperature sensor (e.g. the bulb of a mercury-in-glass thermometer or the digital sensor in an infrared thermometer) in which some change occurs with a change in temperature, and (2) some means of converting this change into a numerical value (e.g. the visible scale that is marked on a mercury-in-glass thermometer or the digital readout on an infrared model). Thermometers are widely used in industry to monitor processes, in meteorology, in medicine, and in scientific research.

    Some of the principles of the thermometer were known to Greek philosophers of two thousand years ago. The modern thermometer gradually evolved from the thermoscope with the addition of a scale in the early 17th century and standardisation through the 17th and 18th centuries.

  • Thermocouple (noun)

    A transducer consisting of two different metals welded together at each end; a voltage is produced that is proportional to the difference in temperature between the two junctions (one of which is normally held at a known temperature)

  • Thermometer (noun)

    An apparatus used to measure temperature.

  • Thermocouple (noun)

    a thermoelectric device for measuring temperature, consisting of two wires of different metals connected at two points, a voltage being developed between the two junctions in proportion to the temperature difference.

Oxford Dictionary

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