Having been involved in the design, manufacture and application of temperature sensors
for twenty years, I have done a number of training seminars on temperature sensors. After
presenting long winded explanations as to how RTD’s (Resistance Temperature
Detectors) and thermocouples are constructed and used, people usually ask the question
“OK, so how do I determine which sensor to use in my application?”. This paper is
intended to answer that question.
After a brief review of how RTD’s and thermocouples are constructed and used to
measure temperature, we will discuss what differentiates these sensors from one another.
We will discuss the topics of temperature range, tolerance, accuracy, interchangeability
and relative strengths and weaknesses for each type. After reviewing these topics you will
have a better understanding as to when each type of sensor should be used and why.