Design project Essay Example

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Measuring the temperature of a microwave product using thermocouple

Instrumentation and Measurement

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<Date>Engineering Design Process

Executive Summary

The paper provides a report on temperature measurement using a thermocouple. As such, tomato soup that has been heated with a microwave is monitored on its temperature variation with the environment using the thermocouple. Such readings are taken as the soup cools when it is exposed on the external environments. The readings are taken after each ten seconds with a span of fifteen minutes. The obtained data is then tabulated and analysed to determine the average rate of cooling. The results obtained indicate that there is a linear relationship between temperature decrement and the time taken for the soup to cool.


Thermocouples consist of two different metals, which are joined together and voltage generated on the junction. The amount of voltage is dependent on junction temperature. Thus, thermocouples have the potential of measuring high temperatures on surfaces and substances since they have fast reaction time.

The project is focused on temperature measurement of a microwave heated tomato soup. The readings taken from the experiment indicate the rate of cooling of the tomato soup with respect to the variation of the external environment temperature. Thus, the readings do not illustrated temperature of the external environment.

Design Summary

The design of the project entails calibration of the thermocouple to measure and monitor cooling rate of the tomato soup. Such involves joining the two metals on a junction, which aids in attaining higher effectiveness of temperature measurement during the experiment.


1 Introduction 4

1.1 Description of the Project 4

2 Implementation 4

2.1 Abstracting the Problem 4

2.2 Division of Tasks5

2.3 Problems Faced5

3 5Sensor Selection

3.1 Identification of the Sensor Type5

3.2 Performance Test of the Sensor 6

4 Measurement System Implementation 6

4.1 Hardware Configuration 6

4.2 Software Configuration 7

5 Conclusion 8

6 References………………………………………………………………………………………………………..9

7 Appendices 9

  1. Introduction

A thermocouple indicates two metals, which are joined together in a junction. These metals aid in measuring temperature of substances in different areas. As such, the focus of this project is to monitor the cooling rate of tomato soup, which is heated through a microwave (I et al., 1966). It is expected that the external environment and surrounding temperature will influence the cooling rate of the instant tomato soup. However, such cooling should have a constant pattern irrespective of the prevailing environmental conditions. The thermocouple creates an effective tool for the measurement of the cooling rate.

1.Description of the Project

A container that has instant tomato soup is heated in a microwave for a given time. The time for heating is recorded. After the removal of the contain from the microwave, a thermocouple is put in the soup so that temperature of the soup is measured at intervals of 10 seconds for 15 minutes as the soup is allowed to cool. Such readings are then tabulated and analysed in order to determine the cooling rate of the tomato soup. The thermocouple is first calibrated prior to the experiment to ensure that correct readings are taken.

  1. Implementation

2.Abstracting the Problem

Cooling rate of heated substance is dependent on the environmental or surrounding conditions. Thus, weather patterns influence the cooling rate of heated substances in different manners in all locations. Determination of the instant tomato soup cooling rate is essential since it creates room for comprehension of how the soup should be served. Hence, individuals will have an opportunity to comprehend the negative impacts of serving the soup in advance than it expected (Philipona et al., 2013). Earlier serving of the soup would imply that people will take cool soup, but when the cooling rate of the soup is determined, it becomes possible to know when heating of the soup should occur and how it cools with time. Moreover, thermocouples make it easier for measuring very high temperature readings.

3.Division of Tasks

The project involves first building the thermocouple through joining of the two metals in a junction. Such a junction should be able to illustrate the deviations in temperature with time. The thermocouple is then calibrated to ensure that it has the potential of taking the correct readings for the substance in question. The second task is the preparation of the surface for heating the instant tomato soup and monitoring of the cooling rate. Such involves ensuring that the thermocouple is placed adjacent to the microwave in order to ensure that there is no loss of time when moving the soup from the microwave to the setup for temperature measurement.

4.Problems Faced

A key problem faced is the inability to ensure that the atmospheric weather conditions and temperatures remain constant. Such occurs since the temperature in the atmosphere varies as the surrounding atmospheric conditions change with time.

  1. Sensor Selection

5.Identification of the Sensor Type

The selected sensor type for the project is the T thermocouple. Such a selection is based on the fact that thermocouples have the potential of measuring high temperatures, which range from -200 to 350 degrees Celsius. As such, the sensor will enable effective measurement and monitoring of the temperature, which is within the range of the project (Madison et al., 2013). Further, the error limit of the T thermocouple is 0.75% or 0ne degree. Such an error will have less impact on the results that are anticipated from the project. Moreover, the accuracy level of the thermocouple ranges from medium to high and has a fair linearity (Fernandes et al., 2014). Such is in line with little cost for the system, which is between $3 and $15. The thermocouple is also able to sense at distances less than 100 meters with a fast response time and very high computational complexity. In addition, this sensor is suitable for the corrosion environment, which implies that the chemical content of the instant tomato soup will not have any negative impact on the sensor.

6.Performance Test of the Sensor

The performance level of thermocouples is very high. Such includes higher accuracies and better results in performance. The sensor is also able to take record of readings of very low temperatures, as well as very high temperatures. This indicates its selection for use in taking of readings of the cooling rate of the instant tomato soup, which has been heated with a microwave. Moreover, the sensor does not have deformities or limitations for use in different environments.

  1. Measurement System Implementation

7.Hardware Configuration

The basic circuit of a thermocouple is illustrated in the figure below. Two metals are conjoined at the junction of open ends at hot and cold junctions. For the purpose of calibration, the two thermocouples are brought at the same area and holed through a switch to a meter. They are brought together and tied so that they can attain the same temperature. The readings are then done to ensure that all of them have the same readings and when they differ replacements are made for the metal rods.

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Schematic presentation of the thermocouple circuit

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Circuit for instant tomato sauce temperature measurement

The circuit used for the measurement of temperature for the instant tomato sauce is shown above. Such a circuit is constructed on solderless breadboard where the short thermocouple aids in temperature measurement for the ice point and the long one for high temperature measurement.

8.Software Configuration

The metals used in the setup of the thermocouple are dependent on thermal gradient, which results in voltage generation. As such, measuring of the voltage demands connection of the conductors to a hot end for the temperature gradient. The magnitude of temperature gradient is dependent on the type of metal being used. Voltage generation occurs along the temperature gradient of the metal (Burg et al., 2012). Such voltage increases linearly with the temperature increase. Thus, when a non-linear relationship is observed it needs to be corrected for linearity.

  1. Conclusion

Temperature measurement using the thermocouple is the most effective strategy, which aids in ensuring that positive results are attained for a varied temperature range. Further, thermocouples aids in measuring of very high temperatures of substances accurately. Instant tomato soup cooling rate varies with respect to the surrounding environmental temperature. However, such a cooling rate attains is characterized of a linear relationship between temperature and the time for the cooling process. This cooling rate is easily determined through the use of thermocouples as the devices for temperature measurement.

  1. References

Burg, B. R., Tong, J. K., Hsu, W., & Chen, G. (2012). Decoupled cantilever arms for highly versatile and

(10), 104902. 83, Review Of Scientific Instrumentssensitive temperature and heat flux measurements.

Fernandes, A., Amorim, P., Brito, C., Moura, A., Moreira, D., Costa, C., & … Marins, J. (2014).

(2), 189-203. 35, Physiological MeasurementMeasuring skin temperature before, during and after exercise: a comparison of thermocouples and infrared thermography.


(4), 329. 4, International Journal Of Production ResearchTEMPERATURE BY TOOL WORK THERMOCOUPLE METHOD.

Madison, D. P., Miers, S. A., Barna, G. L., & Richerson, J. L. (2013). Comparison of Piston Temperature

(6), 1-8.135, Journal Of Engineering For Gas Turbines & PowerMethods: Templugs Versus Wireless Telemetry With Thermocouples.

Philipona, R. R., Kräuchi, A. A., Romanens, G. G., Levrat, G. G., Ruppert, P. P., Brocard, E. E., & …

(10), 2382-2393.30, Journal Of Atmospheric & Oceanic TechnologyCalpini, B. B. (2013). Solar and Thermal Radiation Errors on Upper-Air Radiosonde Temperature Measurements.

  1. Appendices

Appendix 1 Thermocouple characteristics

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Appendix 2 Thermocouple output measurement

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10 of 10 Page Measuring the temperature of a microwave product using thermocouple

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Instrumentation and Measurement ENM2104 – Semester 1, 2014