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Temperature can be measured by using any physical properties that vary with

temperature. Such properties are called thermometric properties. Examples of

thermometric properties are

volume of a liquid liquid-in-glass thermometer


length of solid bimetallic strip


gas pressure constant volume gas thermometer


electrical resistance resistance of a platinum resistor

electromotive force e.m.f of a thermocouple when the junctions are
placed in different temperature
When a liquid is heated, it expands. This expansion may be related to the
temperature of the liquid. If the volume of the liquid is calibrated with the
temperature, then by using the existing scale, one may obtain the temperature
by reading the volume of liquid.
All gases exert a pressure on the wall of its container. At certain temperature, the
gas exerts a certain pressure. At another temperature, it exerts another pressure.
By calibrating using a known lower and upper fixed points, a scale relating
pressure to temperature may be obtained. Hence, by reading off the pressure of
the gas, the temperature may be obtained.
Other thermometric properties may also be utilized using the same method as
described above.
Calibrating a temperature scale
A temperature scale is calibrated by choosing two fixed points, usually the lower
fixed point of melting ice (0 C) and the upper fixed point of boiling water(100
C). Firstly, the thermometer is placed in a beaker of melting ice. Mark the
reading on the thermometer as 0 C. Next, place the thermometer in boiling
water and mark this reading as 100 C. Divide the two readings into 100 equally
spaced units, each corresponding to 1 C change.
After getting the scale, we can put the thermometer into the system which the
temperature is to be measured. By reading the thermometric property at that
temperature, we can interpolate the temperature according to the scale obtained
Characteristics of a thermometer
All thermometers have limitations. In general, there are four characteristics
concerning a thermometer.

Sensitivity refers to the ability to give a large response to a small change in

temperature. A sensitive thermometer is able to detect small changes in
temperature. It can also give a rapid responseto temperature change.