Aerospace Temperature Sensors

From the fuel management system to aircraft air conditioning, there are numerous systems which require the monitoring of temperatures for proper functionality. In order to gauge temperatures across an aircraft, various forms of temperature sensors may be employed depending upon the system in question and its operating environment. In this blog, we will discuss some of the primary types of aerospace temperature sensors, allowing you to better understand the roles that they play for safe and efficient flight operations.

In general, materials or substances will face physical changes when exposed to changing temperatures. These changes are often determinable and consistent, coming in the form of expanding or contracting solids, liquids, and gases. These changes vary by material, though each still follows a consistent pattern that may be known. Bimetallic thermometers are a common temperature sensor for various aviation applications, coming in the form of two dissimilar strips of metal that are bonded together. One metal is fixed in its construction, while the other is coiled. Due to their different rates of change in the face of temperature fluctuations, one metal may expand faster than the other as the coiled end begins to uncoil. This movement results in the adjustment of a pointer that is situated on the instrument dial, allowing for a reading to be made.

Such temperature sensor types are useful for measuring free or outside air temperatures for light aircraft. With a collecting probe extending into the atmosphere from the windshield, the coiled end is placed within the cockpit so that the pilot can witness any readings. Bourdon tubes are also a useful temperature measurement device for light aircraft, such components utilizing the expansion of vapor within an enclosed area to measure temperature changes. As the liquids placed in Bourdon tubes have a consistent changing factor due to temperature fluctuations, readings provided by such devices are reliable.

As electricity becomes more commonly used for aviation applications, equipment such as the electrical resistance temperature thermometer are beneficial for obtaining indications. Such thermometers feature an indicating instrument, temperature-sensitive element, and connecting wire and plug connectors. Generally, these devices are implemented in aircraft for the measurement of carburetor air, free air, oil temperatures, and much more. Electrical resistance thermometers are most often reserved for low to medium temperature areas, capable of measuring on a range of -70 to 150 degrees Celsius. In order to obtain readings, electrical resistance thermometers take advantage of the consistent changes of resistance that metallic components exhibit when exposed to fluctuating temperatures.

Thermocouple temperature indicators are composed of two dissimilar metals that are placed in a circuit or are connected together at two separate junctions. As one junction reaches a temperature that is higher than the other, an electromotive force will be generated with a voltage that is proportional to temperature. As such, a temperature reading may be procured through the measurement of the voltage. Thermocouple temperature indicators are best for high temperatures, often being found in reciprocating and turbine engines.

Beyond such examples, a number of other indicators may be present for the standard operations of an aircraft. Aerospace Sphere is a premier supplier of aviation, NSN, and electronic parts, providing customers competitive pricing and rapid lead-times on the temperature sensors that they require. Due to our unfaltering commitment to strict quality assurance measures and export compliance, we are proud to conduct operations with AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015, and FAA AC 00-56B certification and accreditation. If you would like a quote on items for your comparisons, send us a completed RFQ form and a dedicated account manager will reach out to you in just 15 minutes or less. At Aerospace Sphere, we are more than just a dependable distributor; we are your strategic sourcing partner.


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