All You Need to Know about Temperature Probes

Are you working in a modern laboratory? Well, you must have heard of the term temperature probe. These are types of temperature sensors that measure temperature from different surfaces by contact.

They must have contact with the subject in order to display the temperature stats. They come in different types and shapes as they are used in different applications in most industries with laboratories. Let’s delve deeper into the types.

Types of Temperature Probe Thermometer Sensors

1. Negative Temperature Coefficient (NTC) Thermistor

The term thermistor is a contraction for a ‘thermally sensitive resistor’. This type of sensor exhibits a consistent, small, and increasing change in resistance to temperature variations. For the lower temperatures, you can notice that the thermistor gains higher resistance. As the temperature increases, the resistance will incrementally drop. Nevertheless, for the best results, you can always linearize it in alignment with your application.

2. Thermocouples

Thermocouples will use two metal wires to produce a voltage relative to the temperature present between them. Depending on the industry they will be used in, they can be specialised to conform to the standards. During the specialisation, experts use different metals and wires based on the expected temperature range as well as calibrations.

3. Resistance Temperature Detector (RTD)

RTDs are also a common type of temperature sensors. They measure temperature stats based on the changes in resistance from the metal resistors inside. The most popular ones are the PT100 sensors and use platinum metal resistors.

4. Semiconductor-based Temperature Sensors

A semiconductor-oriented temperature sensor will have integrated circuits (ICs). These temperature sensors will use two similar diodes with temperature-sensitive voltage and current characteristics to monitor the change in temperatures. Usually, they give a linear response and will have low accuracy of the basis sensor types. They have slow response when subjected to narrow temperature ranges.

How to Use a Probe Thermometer

Using a probe thermometer does not have to be a hectic process. You can easily check any product or substance for the temperature as these thermometers have a pointy metal stem that you can insert for the measurement. Before you insert it into any substance, you should first clean it to avoid contamination. Sometimes contamination may alter the real temperature of the product in question. Here is how to use it.

  • Get your thermometer and clean it.
  • Once dry, insert the stem into the thickest part of the product or substance. If it is a liquid, you can stir it for even heat distribution before measurement.
  • You can read the thermometer stats after fifteen seconds in the liquid.
  • Remove the thermometer and clean it for storage.

For better readings, you shouldn’t let the probe touch the bottom or sides of the food containers, as this will alter the product’s temperature.

How to Choose the Best Temperature Probe Thermometers

There are several things that you must bear in mind when selecting a temperature probe. This is because not all of them are made for the same environment. You may find that one is suitable for testing food’s temperature while another works best for industrial and chemical testing. Here are some factors that will affect your decision-making process.

  • Temperature range: The range of temperatures being tested differs from one industry to another. If you are in the food industry, you should get a probe thermometer suitable for ovens and cryogenic gadgets. However, the manufacturing industry may be testing higher temperature ranges, hence needing a more sophisticated thermometer.
  • Data logging abilities: Those involved in hydrostatic and leak testing require reading and recording the data as fast as possible. As such, you must check the probe thermometer’s capability during the purchase so that you do not struggle. Other thermometers will have a USB port so you can connect to another device and record all the readings live.
  • Cost: Thermometers come at different prices depending on the manufacturer as well as features. You must assess the cost from two or three providers and know the most reasonable and affordable options for you.
  • Intrinsic safety: When working in a hazardous location with flammable gases, dust, or chemicals, you must find tools to fit the bill. Since you will be inserting the thermometers in different liquids and products, you need to ensure that the probes cannot cause ignition. Find a probe that is intrinsically safe for your environment.

Suitable Maintenance Tips for Temperature Probe Thermometers

Taking care of a thermometer is pretty simple. Let’s explore simple maintenance tips for your probe thermometers.

  • Clean the probe before and after using. You can also disinfect it with an alcohol swab.
  • Keep it in a cool and safe place, preferably in a plastic container.
  • If a mercury thermometer breaks, you should consult experts for advice on how to clean and eliminate the mercury.
  • Non-mercury thermometers can be cleaned with paper towels and soap as they are not dangerous.

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