Resistance Temperature Detector or RTD | Construction and Working Principle
A Resistance Thermometer or Resistance Temperature Detector is a device which used to determine the temperature by measuring the resistance of pure electrical wire. This wire is referred to as a temperature sensor. If we want to measure temperature with high accuracy, RTD is the only one solution in industries. It has good linear characteristics over a wide range of temperature.
The variation of resistance of the metal with the variation of the temperature is given as, Where, Rt and R0 are the resistance values at toC and t0oC temperatures. α and β are the constants depends on the metals.
This expression is for huge range of temperature. For small range of temperature, the expression can be,
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In RTD devices; Copper, Nickel and Platinum are widely used metals. These three metals are having different resistance variations with respective to the temperature variations. That is called resistance-temperature characteristics. Platinum has the temperature range of 650oC, and then the Copper and Nickel have 120oC and 300oC respectively. The figure-1 shows the resistance-temperature characteristics curve of the three different metals. For Platinum, its resistance changes by approximately 0.4 ohms per degree Celsius of temperature.
The purity of the platinum is checked by measuring R100 / R0. Because, whatever the materials actually we are using for making the RTD that should be pure. If it will not pure, it will deviate from the conventional resistance-temperature graph. So, α and β values will change depending upon the metals.
Construction of Resistance Temperature Detector or RTDThe construction is typically such that the wire is wound on a form (in a coil) on notched mica cross frame to achieve small size, improving the thermal conductivity to decrease the response time and a high rate of heat transfer is obtained. In the industrial RTD’s, the coil is protected by a stainless steel sheath or a protective tube.
So that, the physical strain is negligible as the wire expands and increase the length of wire with the temperature change. If the strain on the wire is increasing, then the tension increases. Due to that, the resistance of the wire will change which is undesirable.So, we don’t want to change the resistance of wire by any other unwanted changes except the temperature changes. This is also useful to RTD maintenance while the plant is in operation. Mica is placed in between the steel sheath and resistance wire for better electrical insulation. Due less strain in resistance wire, it should be carefully wound over mica sheet. The fig.2 shows the structural view of an Industrial Resistance Temperature Detector.