Thermocouple indicators are fundamental sensors used to indicate and regulate temperature of an aircraft engine. Despite being frequently used, thermocouples are not always considered when discussing aircraft equipment calibration. Similar to other aircraft equipment, thermocouple indicators have the ability to drift; therefore, it is extremely important they undergo regular and consistent calibration.
Thermocouple indicators consist of two heterogeneous metal wires. These wires are joined at one end and produce a voltage corresponding to temperature. One junction of the wire is considered the measuring junction, where the wire is exposed to the heat to measure the temperature. The other junction is consider the reference junction. The reference junction maintains a known temperature.
Due to a wide range of temperature preferences, a variety of thermocouple indicators exist. Each type consists of different temperature ranges and sheath material.
Just like every other aircraft equipment that is used to process critical measurements, thermocouple indicators needs to be calibrated. An area of extreme importance in the aviation industry is the production of carbon fiber components. This means that temperature must be accurately controlled and repeatability needs to be present to ensure engine consistency.
In order to confidently know temperature readings are coming back accurate and repeatable you keep the following in mind when deciding to calibrate:
Thermocouple indicators should have a set calibration schedule just like every other aircraft equipment. By setting a schedule, the chances of the indicator drifting are slim and risk factors from improper temperatures are minimized. When establishing a schedule the following should be considered:
Risks that could occur from not calibrating thermocouple indicators could cause severe damage to the aircraft engine and could also possess hazardous safety issues.
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