ME301: Measurement & Experimentation Laboratory

Unit 8: Temperature Measurements   Temperature control is fundamental to most chemical, biological, and mechanical processes.  In order to determine which temperature sensor or transducer is appropriate for a given situation, you must consider a number of factors, including operating environment and desired temporal and measurement sensitivity.  In this unit, you will review common temperature scales and the characteristics of commonly-used temperature measuring devices.

Unit 8 Time Advisory
This unit should take you 12 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 8.1: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 8.2: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 8.3: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 8.4: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 8.5: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 8.6: 3 hours

☐    End of Unit Self-Assessment: 1 hour

Unit8 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:

  • Demonstrate use of common temperature scales.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the relative merits of common instrumentation, including expansion thermometers, thermocouples, and thermistors.
  • Experiment with the dynamics of a temperature sensor, analyze data, and formulate conclusions.

8.1 Temperature Scales   - Reading: NASA: Cryogenics and Fluids Branch of the Goddard Space Flight Center’s “Temperature Scales and Absolute Zero” Link: NASA: Cryogenics and Fluids Branch of the Goddard Space Flight Center’s “Temperature Scales and Absolute Zero” (HTML)
Instructions: Read the text and then calculate the following: room and body temperature in degrees Fahrenheit, Centigrade, Kelvin, and Rankine.  What is the meaning of negative absolute temperature?
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

8.2 Expansion Thermometers   Note: You are probably familiar with the liquid-in-glass expansion thermometer, although its use is declining with time.  You may have encountered one in a chemistry laboratory, in cooking candy, or for a body temperature measurement.  Another type of expansion thermometer makes use of the differential expansion of two metals and is hence called a bimetallic expansion thermometer.  These have been used in devices like thermostats, in which some mechanical action is required as a function of temperature.

  • Reading: University of California – Riverside: Beverly Lynds’ “About Temperature” Link: University of California – Riverside: Beverly Lynds’ “About Temperature” (PDF)
    Instructions: Read the linked section above.  The discussion is wide-ranging, but is particularly useful for understanding the physics of liquid and gas expansion thermometers.
    Terms of Use: The material above has been reposted with permission for educational use by Beverly T. Lynds.  It can be viewed in its original form here.