Temperature Transducers

Written by Stephanie Dula
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Temperature transducers are devices commonly used for measuring the temperature of a target object using a variety of methods. Temperature transducers, also called temperature sensors, must produce an output in correct proportion to the temperature input that they receive. Depending on their configuration, these transducers measure and display temperature in different ways.

Types of Temperature Transducers

A resistive temperature detector (RTD) is one type of sensor which applies an electrical current to a metal, preferably platinum. It can then measure its resistance to this current when applied to heat. As temperature increases, resistance will go up, and this measurement can be displayed proportionally.

A thermistor is another type of temperature sensor, and it operates much like an RTD. Instead of increasing resistance in response to increased temperature, a thermistor's resistance will go down when heat goes up. Both forms of resistors come with their own unique advantages and disadvantages, including their own margins for error, cost, and application guidelines.

Another temperature transducer option is the thermocouple system. This transducer is based on the point where two different types of metals join and produce an electrical output in direct proportion to temperature. Because it does not require a power source and is relatively inexpensive, industrial firms prefer it for their large-scale measurement systems.

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