4A10.30 - Thermocouples

Code Number:
Demo Title:
Thermo-Electric Potentials of Two Metals, Seebeck Effect
Area of Study:
Heat & Fluids
Thermoelectric pair, Thermocouple with multiple pairs, Bunsen burner, Grill lighter, Sensitive voltmeter, Liquid Nitrogen in a beaker.

See also 5E50.10 in Electricity and Magnetism.

Hold the thermoelectric pair in the flame of the Bunsen burner after it is connected to the voltmeter.  As the temperature of the pair goes up so should the voltage read on the voltmeter.

A variation on this experiment is to use the multiple thermal couple.  Dip one end of this in liquid nitrogen and heat the other end with a Bunsen burner.  A volt meter or a galvanometer may be used to look at the output.

  • Thomas B. Greenslade, Jr., "19th Century Textbook Illustrations: Thermo-Electricity", TPT, Vol. 14, # 6, September 1976, p. 370.
  • K. N. Chang, M. S. Cook, K. M. Hamlyn, and R. L. Chaplin, "Modern Thermocouple Experiment", AJP, Vol. 46, #11, Nov. 1978, p. 1080.
  • Et-1:  Freier and Anderson,  A Demonstration Handbook for Physics.
  • H- 014:  "Thermocouple and Thermopile",  DICK and RAE Physics Demo Notebook.
  • John Moore, Christopher Davis, Michael Coplan,  "Thermocouples",  Building Scientific Apparatus,  p. 511- 514.
  • James Cunningham,  "Electric Energy from Heat",  Hands-On Physics Activities,  p. 571, 584.
  • Shoma Kutasov,  "Dependence of Resistance in Metallic Conductors on the Temperature",  Physics Demonstration,  p. 142.
  • "Calibration of a Thermocouple", Selective Experiments in Physics, CENCO, 1962.
  • D. Colson, C. J. Lapp, J. A. Eldridge, "Experiment LXXV", 1936 Univ. of Iowa Physics Laboratory Manual, p. 85.

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