5E50.10 - 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 4A10.30 in Heat and Fluids.

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.

  • Brian Jones, "The Little Shop of Physics", TPT, Vol. 34, # 8, Nov. 1996, p. 514.
  • 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.
  • "How to Make a Thermoelectric Battery", The Boy Scientist, p. 94.
  • Yaakov Kraftmakher, "5.8, Thermoelectric Phenomena", Experiments and Demonstrations in Physics, ISBN 981-256-602-3, p. 349.
  • James Cunningham,  "Electric Energy from Heat",  Hands-On Physics Activities,  p. 571, 584.
  • John Moore, Christopher Davis, Michael Coplan,  "Thermocouples",  Building Scientific Apparatus,  p. 511-514.
  • Shoma Kutasov,  "Dependence of Resistance in Metallic Conductors on the Temperature",  Physics Demonstration,  p. 142.
  • Keithley Instruments, Roger D. Griffioen, "Physics Experiment # 5: Thermocouples and Temperature Transduceers", Series II.
  • Rudolf F. Graf, "Thermoelectricity - Producing Electricity from Heat", Safe and Simple Electrical Experiments, p. 81.
  • Julius Sumner Miller, Q149 & A149, Millergrams II – Some More Enchanting Questions for Enquiring Minds, p. 30 & 88.
  • Joseph Frick, "# 339 & 340 - Electrical Currents With One Metal & Currents Produced by Different Metals", Physical Technics: Or Practical Instructions for Making Experiments in Physics and the Construction of Physical Apparatus with the Most Limmited Means, p. 401.
  • D. Colson, C. J. Lapp, J. A. Eldridge, "Experiment LXXV", 1936 Univ. of Iowa Physics Laboratory Manual, p. 85.

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