12 July 2021

thermocouple vs thermopile

What is a thermocouple?

The thermocouple is essentially an electrical device that consists of two wires made of a different metal that are joined together. They functioned similarly to electrical conductors, producing electrical outputs at varying temperatures. Heat enters one section, circulates, and travels down each wire. It generates electricity when it back up. This electricity voltage provides a precise reading of the temperature.

What is thermopile?

A thermopile is an electronic device that converts thermal power to electrical power. It is also mentioned as a power pile. A thermopile is made up of several thermocouples that are normally connected in series or in rare cases, in parallel. This connection formate can produce more outputs than a single thermocouple.

Thermocouple vs thermopile | Difference between thermocouple and thermopile:

  • The thermocouple is thinner and has a pointed end, while the thermopile is bigger and thicker.
  • The thermocouple is lower voltage output, between 8mV to 30 mV, while the thermopile is a higher output voltage, is 10s or 100s of mVs.
  • The thermocouple is two dissimilar conductors,  made of single pair of wires, while the thermopile more than one thermocouple arranged in series or parallel along with IR absorber membrane.
  • The mathematical equation of thermocouple is Vout  = S*(Tx-Tref) while the thermopile is Vout= N*S*(Tx-Tref), where N is a number of thermocouples used in a thermopile.
  • Thermocouple used for contact-based temperature measurement, while the thermopile used for non-contact-based temperature measurement due to use of IR mechanism employed.

Explore more information:

  1. Heat vs temperature
  2. Pros ad cons of thermocouple
  3. RTD pros and cons
  4. Thermistor pros and cons
  5. Temperature sensor pros and cons
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