TC Specification Criteria

A Technical Selection Note at Smart Sensors Inc.’s Website

Smart Sensors’ Mineral Oxide insulated thermocouple cable with a cut away of the three most common junctions, (from left) ungrounded, exposed, and grounded.

Smart Sensors’ Mineral Oxide insulated thermocouple cable with a cut away of the three most common junctions, (from left) ungrounded, exposed, and grounded.

Houston TX, USA — In a downloadable, free technical note on their website, Smart Sensors, Inc. provides a straightforward approach to specifying a thermocouple for a specific task. They state essentially that in specifying a thermocouple there are many parameters you could consider, however, most of the time if you keep their recommendations in mind on the key parameters your thermocouple “will keep its little millivolt heart pumping away forever or until the next maintenance shutdown whichever occurs first”.

The key parameters they say are: Operating Environment, Cost/Performance Ratio, Process Environment, Response Time, Longevity and Calibration. The note explains each.

The table in the technical note provides the details on each parameter for eight types of thermocouples as well as the properties of different junctions and sheath materials. It’s free online at:

For the most common thermocouple and RTD reference tables download them at, or elsewhere.

Full printed copies of thermocouple tables,  specifications and testing methods may be found in the following ASTM Standards: (All the ASTM Standards from the E20 -Committee on Temperature Measurement – are updated annually in print and DVD versions as the ASTM Volume 14.03 Temperature Measurement)

The reference page on the Smart Sensors website includes some other gems like:

About Smart Sensors, Inc.

Its founders have almost a century of experience in the design production, sales, and application of thermocouples & RTDs. If they haven’t made it, sold it, or seen it before it probably has never been done.

Smart Sensors, Inc.
1920 Aldine Western
Houston TX 77038 USA

Tel: +1 281-272-5333
Fax : +1 281-272-5332

ED NOTE: We think this is such a useful resource that it has been added to our permanent collection and linked to the related pages on thermocouples on About Temperature Sensors

About Editor

A semi-retired industrial physicist who began learning about websites and sharing his know-how on in 1997. It has been the leading technical website on temperature sensors and is ranked number one (and two) by Google in searches on "temperature sensors" for several years. In 2001 it became a full-time business and it's been expanding ever since to more than a dozen unique websites. They are about measurement technologies, practices, devices, standards, meetings, publications, news and education in industry, science and commerce and the Web. Along the way he has managed to help two family members and two technology groups plus his local political committee establish and develop their own websites and he provides technical and even content backup for them, too.

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