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Drift in Type K Bare-Wire Thermocouples from Different Manufacturers

  • E. S. WebsterEmail author
TEMPMEKO 2016
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. TEMPMEKO 2016: Selected Papers of the 13th International Symposium on Temperature, Humidity, Moisture and Thermal Measurements in Industry and Science

Abstract

Base-metal thermocouples play a significant role in industrial measurements, and among the many varieties and formats, bare-wire Type K is often preferred. The reason for this preference is its low cost, durability and tolerance of high temperature. Unfortunately, Type K, like all base-metal thermocouples, is made based on a temperature-to-emf relationship and not on a specific metallurgical formulation. The original Hoskins Chromel/Alumel couple was simple in composition, and it had known thermal drift characteristics associated with reversible crystallographic changes and irreversible oxidation, and these two drift mechanisms led to large instabilities in use. To improve the stability of Type K, most modern manufacturers now adopt compositions with alterations that can depart significantly from those of the original formulation. These alterations are usually made to improve the stability and/or manufacturing processing of their wire. So, although the wire is made to meet the limits of error and tables, this is only true at the time of manufacture. As soon as the wire is exposed to temperatures above \(150~{^{\circ }}\hbox {C}\), the supplier-dependent alloys can exhibit a wide range of drift behaviors that depend on composition and even the batch of the wire. This study investigates the change in Seebeck coefficient as a function of temperature for Type K bare-wires from different suppliers by using a linear-gradient furnace and a high-resolution homogeneity scanner. Wires were exposed to temperatures over the range \({\sim }20~{^{\circ }}\hbox {C}\) to \(950~{^{\circ }}\hbox {C}\) for time periods between 24 h and 500 h. The results show that most wires have very different drift behaviors, which the end user could not realistically predict or correct.

Keywords

Base-metal Drift Homogeneity scanning Inhomogeneity Thermocouples Type K 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Measurement Standards LaboratoryLower HuttNew Zealand

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