Thermocouple consists of two dissimilar metals which are joined to form electrical junctions at differing temperatures and produce electric current. . When selecting thermocoupling alloys, it is important to keep in mind the application temperature range, environment, accuracy required and length of service. Thermocouples are a widely used type of temperature sensor. Commercial thermocouples are inexpensive, interchangeable, are supplied with standard connectors, and can measure a wide range of temperatures. In contrast to most other methods of temperature measurement, thermocouples are self-powered and require no external form of excitation. The main limitation with thermocouples is accuracy; system errors of less than one degree Celsius (°C) can be difficult to achieve. Thermocouples are widely used in science and industry. Applications include temperature measurement for kilns, gas turbine exhaust, diesel engines, and other industrial processes. Thermocouples are also used in homes, offices and businesses as the temperature sensors in thermostats, and also as flame sensors in safety devices for gas-powered major appliances.
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Certain combinations of alloys have become popular as industry standards. Selection of the combination is driven by cost, availability, convenience, melting point, chemical properties, stability, and output. Different types are best suited for different applications. They are usually selected on the basis of the temperature range and sensitivity needed. Thermocouples market is segmented on the basis of product type into K type, J type, T type, M type, C type, N type, E type, B type, S type, and R type. Type E, J, K, M, N, and T come under Nickel-alloy thermocouples, type B, R, and S fall under Platinum/rhodium-alloy thermocouples, type C, D, and G are under Tungsten/rhenium-alloy thermocouples, type P falls under Chromel–gold/iron-alloy thermocouples. Some of the new types of thermocouple are prepared with the use of alloys such as Chromel – gold/iron alloy thermocouple, platinum/molybdenum alloy thermocouple and iridium/rhodium alloy thermocouple. The, thermocouple market is segmented on the basis of metals used in the sensors into platinum, nickel, copper, gold, palladium, and tungsten, among others. Thermocouples market is segmented on the basis of application into automotive optical, metal manufacturing, industrial applications, aerospace and defense applications, life science, food and beverages, consumer utility applications, glass industry applications, petrochemicals applications, and material processing applications, among others.
Increasing use of thermocouples in boilers, temperature controlled rooms and furnaces is one of the major drivers for this market. Continuous automation in the industries is driving the demand for the thermocouple alloys and is expected to be the fastest growing technology. Moreover, the increasing importance toward safety, quality and security issues and standards in the production and manufacturing industries is further aiding the growth of thermocouple alloys market. Thermocouple alloys market has a lot of constraints like, lack of skilled professionals and high cost of operation and devices, which are hampering the growth of thermocouple alloy market.
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Based on geography, the market is segmented across North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and Latin America, and Middle East and Africa. North America is the leading region for the thermocouple alloy market due to the advancement in technologies and also growing automation industry. Market for thermocouple alloys is observed to be ever increasing in developing economies such as the Asia-Pacific region. The reason behind this is the increased industrialization and improved standard of living in this region.
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Key players in thermocouple alloy market are Innovative Sensor Technology IST AG, Wilcon Industries, Watlow, and Microchip Technology Inc.