Thermocouples: Technical Ceramics in Sensor Tubes
Using Technical Ceramics for Process Monitoring
Process monitoring is a challenge in glass and metal foundries. Sampling melt or flue gas temperatures means exposing sensitive probes to high-temperature, corrosive environments.
Thermocouples are used across the full spectrum of engineering and industry to obtain accurate temperature readings in situ. This is calculated as a function of the temperature differential at a junction between two temperature-sensitive wires—usually chromel-alumel, or what is known as a Type K thermocouple.
Although reliable and accurate at temperatures over 1,000°C (1,832°F), thermocouples are prone to corrosion in harsh atmospheres and cannot withstand the severe thermal shock associated with foundry applications. Additionally, the accuracy of temperature readings is relative to the dimensional integrity of thermocouple wires, meaning there is low tolerance for thermally-induced expansion.
Technical Ceramics for Thermocouple Tubes
Although alumina and zirconia can be used for thermocouple protection tubes, high-purity silicon carbide provides the greatest level of performance owing to its high density, low porosity, and outstanding thermal conductivity.
At Saint-Gobain Performance Ceramics & Refractories, we supply a proprietary alpha silicon carbide under the Hexoloy® product line. Prior to our unique technical ceramic offering, silicon carbide was used sparingly in foundry applications due to problems associated with purity and porosity. Our single-phase silicon carbide resolves those challenges with excellent uniformity and absolute chemical integrity, providing universal corrosion resistance. This is achieved through a pressureless sintering and extrusion process which yields self-bonded fine-grained silicon carbide without the need for binders or fillers.
Our Hexoloy® silicon carbide thermocouple protection tubes are subsequently ideal for temperature sensor tubes in challenging working environments, guaranteeing long-lasting performance for reduced maintenance requirements and increased up-time for critical processes.
Interested in learning about more technical ceramics applications?
This article functions as a brief introduction to the need for precision thermocouple sheaths, and our unique solution to that challenge. If you would like more details, you can find a full breakdown of the specifications of our Hexoloy® SiC sensor tubes here.