computer hardware, consumer electronics, electronic components  

Thermostat, thermal switch

Thermal switches or thermostatic switches are used in a variety of applications where it is desirable to activate and/or deactivate equipment as a function of sensed temperature. Thermal sensing electrical switching devices such as thermocouples, resistive thermal devices (RTDs) and thermistors provide an electrical analog signal, such as a voltage or a resistance, which changes as a function of temperature. Thermal switches are engineered for use in high reliability applications such as rocket motors and thrusters, battery charge rate control, temperature control for fuel systems, environmental controls, overheat protection as well as many others. A thermostat can be adjusted to establish a temperature set point such that, when the temperature in the conditioned space reaches the set point, the thermostat interacts with the equipment to take suitable action to heat or cool the conditioned space as may be appropriate for the season. More advanced thermostat systems have many features which provide more precise supervision of the heating and/or cooling equipment to achieve more economical and more comfortable management of the temperature of a conditioned space. Such thermostat systems include a real time clock, a memory and a data processor to run a process control program stored in the memory to accurately measure the temperature of a temperature sensor and to send control signals to the heating and/or cooling equipment to closely control the temperature of the conditioned space. Snap action thermal switches are utilized in a number of satellite applications, such as temperature control of batteries and hydrazine lines, and for overheat detection of mechanical devices such as motors and bearings. Bi-metallic thermal switch elements typically consist of two strips of materials having different rates of thermal expansion fused into one bi-metallic disc-shaped element. Precise physical shaping of the disc element and unequal expansion of the two materials cause the element to change shape rapidly at a predetermined set-point temperature.

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