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Thermometer assignment

Abstract This paper will briefly cover the principles and describe the practice of the Mercury-in-glass thermometer Overview of the thermometer A mercury thermometer also known as a mercury-in-glass thermometer was the invention by German physicist Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit in 1714 and is a thermometer that consists of mercury in a glass tube. Calibrated marks on the tube allow the temperature to be read by the length of the mercury within the tube, which varies (nearly linearly) according to the temperature of the mercury. There is usually a mercury filled bulb at the end of the thermometer, to increase the sensitivity. The expansion and contraction of this mercury is then increased in the narrower part of the tube. The space above the mercury may be filled with nitrogen or it may be less than atmospheric pressure, which is normally known as a vacuum.

Principle of operation Mercury will solidify (freeze) at -38.83 C (-37.89 F) and so may only be used at higher temperatures. Mercury does not expand upon solidification and will not break the glass tube. If the thermometer contains nitrogen, the gas may flow down into the column and be trapped there when the temperature rises. If this happens, the thermometer will be unusable until returned to the factory for reconditioning. To avoid this, some weather services require that all mercury-in-glass thermometers be brought indoors when the temperature falls to -37 C (34.6 F). In areas where the maximum temperature is not expected to rise above -38.83 C (37.89 F), a thermometer containing a mercury-thallium alloy may be used. This has a solidification (freezing) point of -61.1 C (-78 F). Comparison of performance of the thermometer against at least one other type of thermometer The Alcohol thermometer or spirit thermometer is an alternative to the mercury-in-glass thermometer, and functions in a similar way. The contents of the mercury-in-glass thermometer are highly toxic but the alcohol thermometer is less harmful and its contents will evaporate away fairly quickly. An organic liquid is contained in a glass bulb which is connected to a capillary of the same glass and the end is sealed with an expansion bulb. The space above the liquid is a mixture of nitrogen and the vapor of the liquid. For the working temperature range, the meniscus or interface between the liquid is within the capillary. With increasing

temperature, the volume of liquid expands and the meniscus moves up the capillary. The position of the meniscus shows the temperature against an inscribed scale. The liquid used can be pure ethanol, toluene, kerosene or Is amyl acetate, depending on manufacturer and working temperature range. Since these are transparent, the liquid is made more visible by the addition of a red or blue dye. One half of the glass containing the capillary is usually enameled white or yellow to give a background for reading the scale. The ethanol version is the most widely used due to the low cost and relatively low hazard posed by the liquid in case of breakage. Limitations of the thermometer including sources of error The Mercury in glass thermometers main problem is health issues. Mercury is poisonous and when the thermometer is broken can cause damage. Its expansively is fairly low. It is expensive and it has a high freezing point therefore it cannot be used in places where the temperature gets very low. Where this type of thermometer is used Thermometers have been built which utilize a range of physical effects to measure temperature. Temperature sensors are used in a wide variety of scientific and engineering applications, especially measurement systems. Temperature systems are primarily either electrical or mechanical, occasionally inseparable from the system which they control (as in the case of a mercury-in-glass thermometer). Thermometers are used within roadways in cold weather climates to help determine if icing conditions exist. Indoors, thermistors are used in climate control systems such as air conditioners, freezers, heaters, refrigerators, and water heaters. Galileo thermometers are used to measure indoor air temperature, due to their limited measurement range. Alcohol thermometers and mercury-in-glass are used outside in areas which are well-exposed to the elements at various levels of the Earth's atmosphere and within the Earth's oceans is necessary within the fields of meteorology and climatology. Aircraft use thermometers and hygrometers to determine if there are atmospheric icing conditions in their flight path, and these measurements are used to initialize weather forecast models. Thermometers are used within roadways in cold weather climates to help determine if icing conditions exist and indoors within climate control systems.

Bibliography Lee, C 2003, Thermostat' Scientific American, vol. 289, no. 5, p. 32. 'Thermometer' The world book encyclopedia 2004, World Book, Sydney, vol. 8, pp. 114-116. ' Mercury' Encyclopedia Britannica Online School Edition 2006, viewed 10 November 2006, <>. Oakley, V 2003, 'Mercury in devices', Australian, 15 November, p. 29. Middleton, 2006, ' A history of the thermometer, and its uses in meteorology Baltimore Chang, Hasok. Inventing Temperature. New York : Oxford University Press, c2004.