Just about everything is going digital these days. We have electronic cigarettes, smart toasters, even our alarm clocks now learn from us and adjust themselves accordingly. Surely there’s been a lot more things that have gone digital besides things for the average consumer right?
Of course you’re right. Industry is a major driver of technological advancement with lots of tricks up their sleeves to move forward. One such item is the digital thermometer. The thermometer is an extremely necessary piece of equipment when it comes to quality control as well as making sure certain machines are running at proper levels. But is the digital thermometer really that much more noteworthy than the traditional one? Well, let’s see what they can both do and what the digital thermometer has going for it that a traditional one doesn’t.
An analogy thermometer is a beautiful piece of equipment. It is simply a glass tube that is filled with something that will expand uniformly & consistently with heat. Originally this was mercury, but over time less toxic chemicals have been found and are now used instead of mercury, such as colored alcohol.. As the temperature rises, the liquid expands and makes its way further down the tube. The tube is graduated and the level that the liquid rests at corresponds to a certain temperature. The liquid will gradually return to its original level after being removed from the item being measured.
These types of thermometers use a different principle to measure heat. In any metal, the electrical resistance is dependent on temperature, meaning that the electrical resistance of any circuit with a metal resistor can be translated into a specific temperature. The bulb of the digital thermometer is placed into what is to be measured and a charge is run through the thermometer. Depending on the amount of resistance, a certain temperature reading will be given. The readings in digital thermometers can be “held” and saved indefinitely for future use.
So we’ve established that both of these pieces of equipment to measure temperature, albeit in different ways. Why would someone want to choose a digital thermometer as opposed to a traditional one?
Well, firstly the electrical resistance of a circuit can be measured extremely precisely resulting in temperature readings of up to several decimal figures compared to the more rough measurements of analog thermometers. People who have to work within very narrow temperature parameters are much better served by how precise & replicable digital thermometer readings are.
A digital thermometer is also great for large scale applications and some are even wifi enabled. If you were to look at the thermometer at https://www.pasco.com/prodCatalog/PS/PS-3201_wireless-temperature-sensor/index.cfm, there are many features there that are extremely appealing to industry. Digital thermometers can quickly & accurately read temperature remotely and then beam that information directly to any computer connected to the same network. So many different things can all have their temperature measured consistently without anyone having to walk the floor and manually check each one every so often. This makes managing temperatures in industrial settings much less stressful.
Digital thermometers are also a lot more specific than traditional ones. By this I mean that to ensure proper readings with a normal thermometer you need to submerge enough of the liquid into what is being measured as well as be sure not to touch the bottom of the receptacle and blur the test results. Digital thermometers rely on very small heat sensors, this makes them ideal for taking spot temperature readings of body parts or equipment.
Since only a small area is required to be in contact with the heat source to get an accurate reading, digital thermometers can also be more advantageously shaped than traditional ones, allowing them to sneak into more cramped spaces to get a reading. Because regular thermometers rely on thermal expansion, there has to be enough space for the material itself to expand, a space consideration that isn’t necessary of digital thermometers.
So while the traditional thermometer and the digital one serve the same simple purpose, they are wildly different in how they are used in the real world. Traditional thermometers are more or less reserved solely for pools, at-home use, or simply a one off checks here and there. Those who want precision and reliability look for digital thermometers, plus the available wireless connectivity means business people can rope their readings directly into their system without any further steps necessary besides placing the device. They can be smaller, more permanent, and a lot more reliable than a regular thermometer. Depending on the application, you can pretty much be guaranteed to find a digital thermometer for the job.