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Thermocouple Sensors - Thermocouples to your Specifications

What is a thermocouple and how does it work?

A thermocouple is a relatively simple device used to measure temperature. Thermocouple sensors are made from two wires of different metals joined (welded) together to form a measuring junction (also known as a hot junction). This junction and the wires are usually enclosed in a metal sheath which is inserted into the medium where the temperature is to be measured. The opposite end of the two wires are also joined at a point known as the cold junction.

As the temperature at the hot junction changes, it creates a thermal gradient between the hot and cold junctions which generates an electron flow and a resultant electromotive force (EMF), measured in Millivolts. The voltage measured at the ends of the conductors is a function of the temperature difference along the conductor length. This effect is known as The Seebeck Effect.

When used with an appropriate thermocouple display unit, the cold junction is electronically referenced to 0ºC and a formula is applied to the millivolt signal, which can then be converted to °C or °F, using instrumentation. A more detailed explanation of How a Thermocouple Works can be found here.

Choose the right thermocouple for your appplication

We are the largest manufacturer of thermocouple sensors in Europe. Having an enormous range of components in stock means we can make virtually any sensor you specify. We can ship custom built thermocouples typically within 5 days or sooner.

Mineral Insulated
Thermocouples

Mineral Insulated Thermocouple SensorsRugged sensors, ideal for most applications. Vast choice of terminations e.g. pot seals, cables, connectors, heads etc.
Swaged Tip
Thermocouples
Swaged Tip Thermocouple SensorsFast response thermocouples ideal for industrial and other applications.

Miniature
Thermocouples

Miniature Thermocouple SensorsIdeal for precision temperature measurements where minimal displacement and a fast response is required.
Heavy Duty
Thermocouples
Heavy Duty Thermocouple SensorsFor industrial applications such as furnaces, kilns, ovens, boliers, flues etc. Many types of sheath material available.

High Temperature Thermocouples

High Temperature ThermocouplesVarious thermocouples specifically for high temperature applications. Wide choice of sheath materials and terminations.
General Purpose
Thermocouples
General Purpose ThermocouplesA wide range of thermocouples to suit many applications. Hand held, surface, bayonet, bolt, patch styles etc.
Thermocouples for
Surface Measurements
Surface ThermocouplesA range of thermocouples to suit various surface temperature measurement applications.
AMS2750 Approved
Thermocouples
AMS2750 approved ThermocouplesCalibrated thermocouples designed to meet the high quality and accuracies demanded for heat treatment and vacuum furnace applications
Industrial Vacuum
Thermocouples
vacuum Thermocouples Ceramic sheathed calibrated thermocouples designed specifically in vacuum furnace applications with very low leak rates
ATEX/IECEx Approved
Thermocouples
ATEX approved ThermocouplesA large range of thermocouples with a variety of terminations such as pot seal, terminal heads etc.

Thermocouple Types

Type K - Nickel-Chromium vs Nickel-Aluminium, IEC 60584-1

Thermocouple Type K, also referred to as Chromel-Alumel, is the most common thermocouple in use today mainly because it is reliable, inexpensive, has a wide temperature range and is reasonably accurate. Type K thermocouples are designed primarily for general temperature measurements in normal atmospheres. Maximum continuous temperature is about 1,100°C, although above 800°C oxidation increasingly causes drift and decalibration. For short term exposure, however, there is a small extension to 1,200°C. For more information, please see our dedicated Type K thermocouple page.

Type J - Copper vs Copper-Nickel, IEC 60584-1

Thermocouple Type J, commonly referred to as Iron/Constantan, this is one of the few thermocouples that can be used safely in reducing atmospheres. However, in oxidising atmospheres above 550°C, degradation is rapid. Maximum continuous operating temperature is around 800°C, although for short term use, temperatures up to 1,000°C can be handled. Minimum temperature is -210°C, but beware of condensation at temperatures below ambient - rusting of the iron arm can result, as well as low temperature embrittlement. For more information, please see our dedicated Type J thermocouple page.

Type T - Copper vs Copper-Nickel, IEC 60584-1

Thermocouple Type T, whose original name was Copper-Constantan, has found quite a niche for itself in laboratory temperature measurement over the range -250°C to 400°C - although above this the copper arm rapidly oxidises. Repeatability is excellent in the range -200°C to 200°C (±0.1°C). Points to watch out for include the high thermal conductivity of the copper arm, and the fact that the copper/nickel alloy used in the negative arm is not the same as that in Type J - so they’re not interchangeable. For more information, please see our dedicated Type T thermocouple page.

Type N - Nickel-Chromium-Silicon vs Nickel-Silicon, IEC 60584-1

Thermocouple Type N, was billed as the revolutionary replacement for the Type K thermocouple (the most common in industrial use), but without its drawbacks - Type N (Nicrosil-Nisil) exhibits a much greater resistance to oxidation-related drift at high temperatures than its rival, and to the other common instabilities of Type K in particular, but also the other base metal thermocouples to a degree. It can thus handle higher temperatures than Type K (1,280°C, and higher for short periods). For more information, please see our dedicated Type N thermocouple page.

Type R - Platinum-13% Rhodium vs Platinum, IEC 60584-1

Thermocouple Type R is similar to the Type S combination, this thermocouple has the advantage of slightly higher output and improved stability. In general Type R thermocouples are preferred over Type S, and applications covered are broadly identical. For more information, please see our dedicated Type R thermocouple page.

The above list shows the more popular types of thermocouple used in the UK, other thermocouple types that you might come across are Type S and Type E thermocouples. For very specific, usually high temperature, applications Type B and Type C are sometimes found.

what is a thermocouple video

More Information about Thermocouples

How does a thermocouple work? Thermocouple Colour Codes Thermocouple Types Thermocouple Tolerances

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Thermocouple Sensors
Mineral Insulated Thermocouples
Thermocouples with Mini Plug
Thermocouples with Terminal Head
Thermocouples with Cable
High Temperature Thermocouples
General Purpose Thermocouples
ATEX/IECex Thermocouple Sensors
Ceramic Thermocouple Sensors
Fast Response Thermocouple Sensors
Autoclave Thermocouple Sensors
Surface Measurement Thermocouple Sensors
FEP Insulated Thermocouple

Platinum Resistance Thermometers
Mineral Insulated RTD Pt100 Sensors
Rigid Stem RTD Pt100 Sensors
Hand Held RTD Pt100 Sensors
Surface Measurement RTD Pt100 Sensors
RTD Pt100 Sensors with Cable
RTD Pt100 Sensors with Mini Plug
Autoclave RTD Pt100 Sensors
RTD Pt100 with Terminal Head
ATEX/IECex Platinum Resistance Thermometers
Fast Response RTD Pt100 Sensors
Air Temperature RTD Pt100 Sensors
Magnetic RTD Pt100 Sensors
Cable
PVC Single Pair Thermocouple Cable
PFA Single Pair Thermocouple Cable
Fibreglass Single Pair Thermocouple Cable
PVC Multipair Thermocouple Cable
PFA Multipair Thermocouple Cable
Fibreglass Multipair Thermocouple Cable
PVC RTD Pt100 Cable
PFA RTD Pt100 Cable
Fibreglass RTD Pt100 Cable

Miniature Thermocouple Connectors
Mini Thermocouple Connectors – 220ºC Rated
Mini Thermocouple Connectors – 350ºC Rated
Mini Thermocouple Connectors – 650ºC Rated
Mini Thermocouple Connector Accessories
Mini Thermocouple Connector Panels
Mini Three Pin Connectors

Standard Thermocouple Connectors
Standard Thermocouple Connectors – 220ºC
Standard Thermocouple Connectors – 350ºC Rated
Standard Thermocouple Connectors – 650ºC Rated
Standard Thermocouple Connector Accessories
Standard Thermocouple Connector Panels
Standard Three Pin Connectors
Instrumentation
Hand Held Indicators
Panel Indicators
Temperature Transmitters
Temperature Controllers
Temperature Programmers
Temperature Calibrators
Chart Recorders
Multi Channel Indicator
DIN Rail Mounted Transmitters
Head Mounted Transmitters
ATEX/IECEx Rated Transmitters
Dry Block Calibrator
Temperature Dataloggers

Temperature Accessories
Compression Fittings
Pressure and Vacuum Feedthroughs
ATEX/IECEx Compression Fittings

Calibration
UKAS Calibration Services

Pressure
Pressure Gauges
Pressure Transmitters


© 1998- TC Ltd., P.O. Box 130, UXBRIDGE, UB8 2YS, United Kingdom
Tel.: 01895 252222, Fax: 01895 273540, Email: info@tc.co.uk
© 1998- TC Ltd., P.O. Box 130, UXBRIDGE, UB8 2YS, United Kingdom
Tel.: 01895252222, Fax: 01895 273540, Email: info@tc.co.uk