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Calibration of Temperature Measuring Devices

GRACE LYN NIADAS Y.


Dr. ir.Jerome B. Taboada PhD in Chemical Physics
Department of Chemical Engineering, College of Engineering and Architecture, Cebu
Institute of Technology-University, N. Bacalso Ave. Cebu City, 6000 Philippines

Temperature plays an important role in the industry. Thermometer and thermocouple


are the two common temperature measuring devices used so calibrating it to the actual value
plays an important role. Calibration is done by comparing the temperature device reading to a
known reference boiling or melting points. Thermometer usually changes temperature in a
slow manner compared to thermocouple because it takes time to attain same temperature with
the glass and with the bulb inside the thermometer. We may say that thermocouple is more
accurate compared to thermometer since it has more direct contact with the liquid, but none
of them was calibrated. When temperatures taken from the two devices were compared it was
observed that the two dont have same readings because of thermal equilibrium. And thus
comparing it to the reference boiling and freezing point of water, it gives slight difference in
the result taken.

1. Introduction:
The main purpose if the experiment is to be able to calibrate temperature
measuring devices, such as a standard laboratory thermometer and a
thermocouple. Temperature measurement in todays industrial environment
encompasses a wide variety of needs and applications. To meet this wide array of
needs the process controls industry has developed a large number of sensors and
devices to handle this demand one of these were thermometer and thermocouple.
Calibration is the set of operations which establish, under specified conditions
the relationship between values indicated by a measuring instrument and the
corresponding known value. The result of a calibration permits the estimation of
the uncertainty of indication of measuring instrument .In a comparison between a
thermometer and a thermocouple to be calibrated to the standard. What results
from a calibration is a correction to apply to the reading of the calibrated
thermometer and its associated uncertainty.
2. Materials and Methods

Figure 1.Callibration Set up


A] Boiling point B] Freezing point measurement apparatus

400 ml distilled water, 500 g crushed ice and matchbox was the
materials used in the experiment. Prior to the experiment the temperature and
atmospheric pressure was recorded. The boiling point apparatus was set up by
mounting the temperature measurement devices. Iron clamps and iron stand
was equipped with 250ml beaker on a clay shield with wire gauze. (Clay
shield protects the beaker and the burner in case if the iron ring collapsed).
200ml of distilled water was placed in the beaker. The thermometer and

thermocouple was immersed in the beaker. It was made sure that the
thermometer and thermocouple did not touch the wall or bottom of the beaker.
The precautions in using the Bunsen burner were observed and the liquid was
allowed to boil. The reading of the temperature measuring device per
increment in temperature was recorded. The heat was removed as soon as the
reading stabilized at boiling point and the reading per decrement ice was also
recorded. Crushed ice was added as soon as it reached room temperature and
was allowed to cool down to its freeing point. The reading was recorded per
decrement in temperature and the results were tabulated.
3. Results:
Table 1. Results for heating

Time (sec)
0
124
232
278
328
378
427
476
526
574
633
697
764
848
1128

Standard
Thermometer(C)
25
30
35
40
45
50
55
60
65
70
75
80
85
90
95

Table 2. Results for cooling

Thermocouple
(C)
23.4
29.2
38.3
43
48
52.8
58.8
63.6
68.5
74.2
79.2
85
90.6
96.2
100.3

Standard

Thermocouple

Thermometer(C)

(C)

95

96.2

0.56

90

92.8

2.07

85

88.3

3.41

80

81.4

5.54

75

72.3

8.03

70

69.6

10.59

65

65.9

14.12

60

62.8

18.42

55

57.3

24.18

50

51.9

32.36

45

46.4

45.50

40

40.6

68.15

35

35.8

91.30

30

30.7

Time (mins)

Table 3. Results for freezing


Standard

Thermocouple

Thermometer(C)

(C)

91.3

30

30.7

94.13

25

25.4

95.42

20

19.4

97.30

15

14.6

100.09

10

9.7

109.22

4.4

109.54

2.6

110.41

2.2

112.19

1.8

116.50

0.7

Time (sec)

122.22

-0.2

Graph 1. Heating curves


120
100
80
60
40
20
0

thermometer
thermocouple

Graph 2. Cooling Curves


100
90
80
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0

Thermometer
Thermocouple

Graph 3. Freezing Curves

40
30
20
10
0
-10

Thermometer
Thermocouple

Graph 4. Calibration lines of thermometer and thermocouple


100
80
60
40
20
0
-20

Thermometer
thermocouple

4. Discussion:
As observed in the tabulated results the temperature measure by the
thermometer and the thermocouple did not have the same reading it usually
differ by one or two C it is because the tip is wire and thermocouple has
more direct contact with the liquid. Unlike the standard thermometer the heat
should pass and maintains same temperature with the glass before the bulb
rises up and gives the reading. It can be explained by the Zeroth law of
thermodynamics or also called Thermal equilibrium. You may notice at the
table for heating at 60C the reading of the thermocouple and the standard
thermometer was the same it may be because external things happening in the
experiment like a drop of water was spilled to the beaker or human error, the
thermocouple may touch the side of the beaker. The amount of time needed for

the water to achieve its boiling and freezing point is long thattook 8 minutes to
reach boiling point and 1 and a half hour to go back to 30C.
5. Conclusion:
Calibration of temperature measuring devices is important in order to
attain accuracy in measuring temperature. The atmospheric pressure also plays
a role in this experiment at different pressure the boiling point of water also
changes. The temperature of the room will also contribute to the reading since
the

thermometer

and

thermocouple

absorbs

temperature

from

the

surroundings. The curves of the heating and cooling did not overlap because
the thermometer doesnt have direct contact with the liquid (because of the
glass) unlike the thermocouple. In short the thermometer needs to have
thermal equilibrium that is the reason why the two dont have the same
reading.
References:
[A] Aristea V. Bayquen, Exploring Life through Science: Chemistry 2ndEdition, 2011 p.33.
http://www.euramet.org/fileadmin/docs/Publications/calguides/EURAMET_cg11__v_2.0_Temperature_Indicators_01.pdf(accessedjuly 25 2014)
http://www.isotech.co.uk/files/document_library_file-27.pdf(accessedjuly 24 2014)
http://www.labom.com/files/in-process_calibration_koester_e.pdf(accessedjuly 24 2014)
http://www.xitrontech.com/assets/002/5790.pdf(accessedjuly 25, 2014)