Questions and Answers for thin-film platinum temperature sensors

Thin-film platinum temperature sensors are small in size, low-cost, and easy to use. But these temperature sensors are also precision instruments that require careful handling in order to ensure reliable performance. In this edition, Product Manager Bob Gliniecki answers a few of the most frequently asked questions he receives from customers:

How should I store thin-film platinum temperature sensors?

Elements should be stored in their original packaging if possible, at room temperature, in a dry environment. This is especially important with parts having silver wire or contacts, which are packaged in special VCI (volatile corrosion inhibitor) bags designed to inhibit corrosion. If a partial quantity of parts is used, the package should be re-closed completely. Enclosing a packet of silica gel with the parts may be helpful if your storage area is subject to higher humidity.

How should thin-film platinum temperature sensors be handled?

Care should be taken when the elements are removed from the packaging container- do not drop or crush the container, for starters! Pulling or bending the lead wires in a sharp radius must be avoided. In particular, pulling or bending the lead wire in a peel direction (upward from the plane of the element substrate) can cause significant damage to the element. If tweezers are used to handle the parts, non-metallic (plastic or plastic-coated metal) tip tweezers should be used. If the parts need to be handled while hot, ceramic-tipped tweezers are suitable. Excessive squeezing force applied to the element may damage the thin-film pattern, or crack the element body.

How are thin-film platinum temperature sensors tested?

Thin film elements are manufactured and tested via an automated production line, with most elements tested 100% at both 0°C and 100°C. Further manual testing of the element is not necessary unless individual calibration is desired. If further testing is performed, a 4-wire test fixture with low contact resistance should be employed, along with a precision multimeter or measurement bridge, 5 ½ digit resolution minimum, with sufficiently low current to avoid self-heating error. Consult the specific element data sheet for individual temperature sensors for specific test current requirements. Please note that cutting the element lead wires, or adding extension leads or connectors may impact calibration results.

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