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Overview         (For age - group : Above 14 )

 

This animated physics topic gives in-depth information about Bi-metallic strips and thermostat, these are used in wide ranging applications from refrigerators, ACs, microwave oven etc. All the devices that require automatic temperature control use them. Find out how two pieces of metal can use physics to deliver human comfort.

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Category : Science

Type : Animation

BI-metallic strip - The animation contains the following

  • Expansion of solids
  • What are bimetallic strips ?
  • Why bi-metallic strips bend?
  • How is a bimetallic strip made ?
  • What happens if both ends of a bimetallic strip are clasped together ?
  • How it is used in a thermostat ?
  • Do the strips bends due to being heated by the current ?
  • How does the thermostat regulate the heat ?
  • Where is the thermostat used ?
  • How tightening or loosening the screw increases thermostat switching?

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bimetallic strips
A bimetallic strip are two pieces of different metals stuck together or riveted together
upon heating the bimetallic strip starts bending
Upon heating the bimetallic strip starts bending towards a direction that depends on the coefficient of thermal expansion of individual strips
The aqpplication of a bimetallic strip is in thermostat, a temperature regulating device
The application of a bimetallic strip is in thermostat, a temperature regulating device
Internal circuit and working of a thermostat using a bimetallic strip to control temperature
Internal circuit and working of a thermostat using a bimetallic strip to control temperature
Details of the animation/ movie /software

A BI-metallic strip works on the principle that different metals have different coefficients of expansion.
A BI-metallic strip consists of two strips of different materials but of equal length. These two strips are riveted together at different points along their lengths such that they cannot slip sideways. Typically a welding process is used for bonding, but rivets, bolts, adhesive and other fasteners can also be used.

On heating the strip, the metal having the higher coefficient of linear expansion expands more than the other metal and therefore the strip bends. The bending is such that the strip is concave on the side of the metal of low coefficient of expansion and convex on the side of the metal of large coefficient of expansion.
On cooling the strip, the reverse happens. Now, the metal having a higher coefficient of expansion contracts more and is therefore on the concave side while the metal of low coefficient of expansion contracts less and is on the convex side.

Example : A BI-metallic strip is brass on one side and steel on the other. When heated over a Bunsen burner the strip curves toward the steel side. When cooled in liquid nitrogen, it curves the other way.


Applications of BI-metallic strip:

Thermostat: A thermostat is a device used for maintaining a steady temperature. It's basically a thermometer attached to a switch, and it's job is to turn something on or off when the thermometer reaches a certain temperature. Its working is based on the behavior of a BI-metallic strip with the change in temperature.

Often long BI-metallic strips are coiled into spirals. By coiling a very long strip it becomes much more sensitive to small temperature changes. In a furnace thermostat, the same technique is used and a mercury switch is attached to the coil. The switch turns the furnace on and off.


Thermostats are used in many appliances such as electric press, heater, fire alarm, flash unit, refrigerator, and air conditioner etc.

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Buyers Feedback:

Q & A
Q1: what are the formulae used in measuring temperatured using bi-metalic strip applications simon martey 4/2/2014
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Q2: How does bimatallic works in iron zain 16/3/2013
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Q3: In which equipments bimetallic strips are used and How? Aqsa Salim 4/2/2012
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Q4: how does turning the screw down on the electric iron alter the temperature at which the circuit is broken rida zehra 19/11/2011
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Q5: when the screw is set at the bottom the iron can be used for line fabrics, when the screw is set at the top of the iron can be used for nylon fabrics, which fabric needs most heat ashwani 10/1/2011
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Q6: how does turning the screw down on the electric iron alter the temperature at which the circuit is broken ashwani 10/1/2011
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Q7: why will the fire alarm ring when there is a fire ashwani 10/1/2011
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Q8: what is motion and laws of motion Isack Faraday 28/10/2010
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Q9: what will happen if we heat iron and copper together? bilal khan 10/8/2010
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Q10: How does the thermostat regulate the heat ? lwandisile 3/8/2010
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Q11: i need one type of bimetalic strip.if i heat that strip it will expand.when i reduce the heat it will come to ordinary stage.please tell me what type of combination may be used? sureshkumar 6/2/2010
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Q12: where can i find a diagram to question 38 kailey athanitis 8/3/2009
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Q13: can you give me a website that gives me a diagram to question 39 kailey 8/3/2009
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Q14: How do you you calculate the deflection of a bimeatlic spring? Francis 5/2/2009
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Q15: what are the physical properties of a thermostat which help it to work. physical properties like state, conductivity, ductility etc. jess 1/2/2009
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Q16: what are the physical properties of a thermostat which help it to work. physical properties like state, conductivity, ductility etc. jess 1/2/2009
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Q17: explain why do icebergs take a long time to melt ashley 2/1/2009
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Q18: explain why motorists put anti freeze in winter ashley 2/1/2009
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Q19: why do flames go upwards? cinthia 19/10/2008
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Q20: My teacher put a metallic object over a bunsen burner and it curver up how? please answer today i have to have report done dubbs 14/9/2008
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Q21: where can I purchase bimetal strips in London? Hiva 17/5/2008
Ans: Frankly we are not very sure but our search of the internet reveals that it is available at House, 10 Essex Street, Strand, London or at you can enquire with Caparo Precision Strip Ltd Trading As J.B & S. Lees at Caparo plc, Caparo House, 103 Baker Street, London, W1U 6LN, but we doubt that they sell small quantities
Q22: How to use a bimetallic strip to make a thermostat?? Kaye Yambao 3/4/2008
Ans: refer to answers below
Q23: i am doing a school project on fire alarms and the bimetallic strips they use, so is it possible for you to provide me with a diagram of the cross section of the fire alarm? chaehyohin 11/3/2008
Ans: You can get some details of the circuit from this link http://www.technologystudent.com/elec1/therm1.htm, replace thermistor by a bimetallic strip and the LED by a relay connected to a speaker to get it functional. You may also use a NE555 chip to create an elaborate circuit. Refer any electronic circuit site for that.
Q24: can you please answer my questions sareeta 5/3/2008
Ans: Hi Sareeta, we have got overloaded with questions, but be assured we shall it as soon as possible, keep asking - Admin
Q25: why would you crawl close to the floor in a smoke-filled room sareeta 2/3/2008
Ans: Smoke consists of CO2, CO and heat, it rises pushing the oxygen down to the floor, hence it is safer in case of a smoke filled room to breathe near the floor level.
Q26: explain why two blankets are usually warmer than one thick blanket sareeta 2/3/2008
Ans: Two blankets are usually warmer than one thick blanket because there is a layer of air trapped between two blankets, since air is an insulator; it does not allow heat to freely flow through and keeps the inside at a higher (or lower) temperature from the extremities. A single blanket will allow the heat pass through hence the temperature difference between outside and inside will be only what is managed by the thickness of the material of the blanket.
Q27: What might be tha effect of sprinkling black soot over the ice in the Artic or Antarctic? sareeta 2/3/2008
Ans: When soot falls on ice, it darkens the surface and accelerates melting by increasing absorbed sunlight. Airborne soot also warms the air and affects weather patterns and clouds for example the soot would lower the reflection of sunlight from ice, and the air would get warmer, the warmer air should melt some snow and sea-ice and thus expose the dark underlying soil and ocean water, which would absorb sunlight and bring on more warming. So as dust destroys the reflective cover of ice, it might not re-form.
Q28: Explain why copper pots are better than aluminum pots sareeta 2/3/2008
Ans: Aluminum has about 65% of the conductivity of copper; Copper has a high thermal conductivity, it distributes heat better than aluminum, making the cooking time shorter, it cooks the food more evenly. When the heat is turned up or down the copper cookware will react a lot quicker to the temperature change than aluminum or stainless steel but copper can be toxic if acid foods are cooked in it, Aluminum also reacts with tomato and other acidic dishes. Aluminum is easier to maintain than copper, but not as attractive. Today, copper cookware usually means cookware that has stainless steel on the cooking surface and copper on the outside.
Q29: what would possibly happen if an astronaut's spacesuit was dull and black? sareeta 2/3/2008
Ans: Space is very cold-on average, about 3 K. Human lose heat in space by radiation only since conduction and convection need medium and it is vacuum out there. If we were to paint the suit black, the albedo would be higher, so there would be more blackbody radiation. This would mean it would become quite chilly for our astronaut if the spacesuit were black. White reflects heat in space, the same as it does here on Earth. Temperatures in direct sunlight in space can be over 275 °Fahrenheit. The white color of the suits reflects most of the sunlight away. The suits are liquid cooled as they are highly insulated so the cooling system is needed primarily to alleviate the heat generated by the astronauts' own metabolic functions.
Q30: how could a fire alarm change to a frost alarm? sareeta 25/2/2008
Ans: By reversing the direction of bimetallic strip and connecting the thermostat so that when it falls below a certain temperature, the bimetallic strip bend in the opposite direction to that of fire alarm to connect the alarm system.
Q31: how does a fire alarm work? sareeta 25/2/2008
Ans: Please refer to the answer of 18 feb 2007, below, to understand the working as a fire alarm
Q32: why must you never put sealed bottles or 'aerosol' sray cans on a fire? sareeta 25/2/2008
Ans: Aerosols cans contains gases under pressure. When the liquefied gas propellant used in aerosols is heated, vapor is produced that can quickly pressurize the can. A temperature rise to only 86ºF can double the pressure inside the aerosol can.. The heat generated inside a closed vehicle parked in direct sunlight may be enough to increase the pressure inside the can to the point that it ruptures explosively. So putting it inside fire will definitely blow it up and move shrapnel in all direction. This should never be done.
Q33: WHY CAN A DENTED TABLE-TENNIS BALL OFTEN BE MENED BY WARMING IT IN HOT WATER? sareeta 25/2/2008
Ans: Air inside the ball expands upon heating and produces equal pressure at all points on the ball causing the dent to straighten out.
Q34: why might a beach-ball burst if left in the sun? sareeta 25/2/2008
Ans: A beach ball is filled with air under pressure; sometimes it is filled tightly so that there is no room for expansion of air inside the ball. As the temperature increases due to ambient conditions on the beach or by constant kicking of the ball, the air expands but since there is no more space available inside the ball, it explodes.
Q35: why does a bottle of lemonade always have space between the top of the liquid and the cap? sareeta 25/2/2008
Ans: To provide space for expansion of liquid under increasing temperature
Q36: how is a bi metallic strip used in a fire alarm prithi 12/2/2008
Ans: Please refer to answer of Feb 18, 2007 given below
Q37: could u explain abt temperature application of bimetallic strip BARANEETHARAN.S 6/10/2007
Ans: Bi-metallic strip is a temperature device i.e. a device to sense the temperature of the surrounding and break the current circuit, this can be coupled with a bell to make a fire alarm, with compressor to function as a thermostat, used for measuring body temperature in thermometer, as a circuit breaker relay in electrical systems.
Q38: doe sdoes a bimetallic stip work in a thermostat bill 1/10/2007
Ans: Please refer below to the answer dated 20/6/2007, if you have any specific doubt please ask us, we will be glad to assist you - Admin
Q39: by what means the volume of a speaker is increased? rajesh palanisamy 6/7/2007
Ans: To increase the speaker volume you need to amplify it by using a preamplifier – this is possible through both analog and digital amplifiers readily available in the market, basically you have to install these to amplify the signal sent to speakers, but the tweeters and woofers should be capable of handling such signal otherwise the noise generated can damage them, google for such circuits there are many sites giving more info
Q40: how does the bimetallic strip work in refrigirator nestor 20/6/2007
Ans: The answer is same as for electric iron - Bimetallic in refrigerator is used as a thermostat, a device to sense the temperature of the surrounding and break the current circuit, if it goes beyond a set temperature point. Normally such bimetallic strips are in form of a coil to increase their sensitivity and a change in their length occurs in proportion to temperature, as they elongate they break the circuit. They are generally not put directly in the circuit but as a relay to control current.
Q41: explain how the bimetalic stip is used in electric irons 'thermostat' mox 14/6/2007
Ans: Bimetallic in both refrigerator and electric iron is used as a thermostat, a device to sense the temperature of the surrounding and break the current circuit, if it goes beyond a set temperature point. Normally such bimetallic strips are in form of a coil to increase their sensitivity and a change in their length occurs in proportion to temperature, as they elongate they break the circuit. They are generally not put directly in the circuit but as a relay to control current.
Q42: why is it easier to remove a tight metal lid from a glass jar after running hot water over it? amanda 14/6/2007
Ans: Coefficient of expansion of metal is higher than that of the glass, pouring of hot water makes the metal cap expand more than the glass and it becomes lose and be screwed off. Refer our concept of thermal expansion animation
Q43: if a bottle was filled with a liquid, tightly sealed and then heated ,explain what might happen mox 14/6/2007
Ans: Expansion of gases is higher than liquid that in turn is higher than solid. So the metal or the plastic will expand at a lesser rate than liquid and gas (air) inside the bottle, if the body is thin it will bulge or break but if it is thick enough to withstand the maximum pressure that can be generated by liquid and gas inside it nothing will happen.
Q44: How long is the bimetallic strip you sell? Dan Smith 24/5/2007
Ans: The bimetallic strip "animation" we sell is 19 minutes long.
Q45: illustrate with diagrams uses of bimettalic strips in Electric Iron,Fire alarm system and thermostat shanu 17/5/2007
Ans: We will upload a few shortly
Q46: what are the materials used for bimetallic strips. plz give me some examples,And what are the properties required for these materials g jilani 13/5/2007
Ans: The materials are invar and brass or copper and steel for higher temperature range (thermostat, fire alarm) or for low temperature (20-120 K) use of bimetallic strip with vanadium or niobium (transition metal of group 5B) in combnation with gallium, indium, silicon, germanium, tin, arsenic of group 3A, 4A or 5A. Basically any two metal or metalloid having substantially different coefficient of linear expansion joined (fused or amalgmated) together will form a bimetallic strip
Q47: give me the use of bimetallic strip in the following : 1) Thermostat 2) Electric Iron 3) Fire Alarm Edun 7/5/2007
Ans: Bimetallic strip functions as a circuit breaker used less frequently directly as a switch but more as a relay that indirectly cuts the power in all of the above equipment
Q48: give some details in a fire alarm using bimetallic strip by means of pictures Yoshil 4/5/2007
Ans: We are unable to provide any picture but you can use the link provided in the answer of 18 Feb. 2007 for a diagram. We will try to make animated layouts of its use in fire alarms, electric iron, thermometers etc in the next update to the animation but right now we are cannot put a date to it.
Q49: How does bimetallic work in a fire alarm John 2/4/2007
Ans: Please refer answer to question dated 26 Oct 2006 given below, if you need specific details we will be glad to assist you.
Q50: where can you buy a bimetallic strip and what can you use to heatand cool it for a science project Tim Davidson 25/3/2007
Ans: A bimetallic strip is available in electronic component stores (those ones selling multi-meters, transformers, audio accessories) or in electronic equipment repair shops. A bimetallic strip reacts to temperature so you either heat it directly using Bunsen burner or indirectly by placing it in proximity of heat source like hair dryer, heater, heat convector, electric stove (pls. be careful while using these equipment)
Q51: can you get me the application of bimetallic strip in an electric iron with internal structure achintya venkat 5/3/2007
Ans: The bi-metallic strip functions like a thermostat inside an electric iron, we have included a lot of material on it in our details section, however we are unable to include a diagram as the answers are in text format only.
Q52: can you give diagrams and details on the working of fire alarms based on bimetallic strips Priya 18/2/2007
Ans: You can get some details of the circuit from this link http://www.technologystudent.com/elec1/therm1.htm, replace thermistor by a bimetallic strip and the LED by a relay connected to a speaker to get it functional. You may also use a NE555 chip to create an elaborate circuit. Refer any electronic circuit site for that.
Q53: How is liquid crystal thermometer connected to bimetallic? urrouba 19/1/2007
Ans: A LCD thermometer strip does not use bimetallic strip but cholesterol molecules that form a spiral staircase and react to wavelengths of light. A digital thermometer however uses a thermocouple (pair of dissimilar metal wires joined at one end) that measures temp difference (not absolute temp) at the junction of two fine wires and converts the thermal potential difference into electrical one by Seeback effect or thermoelectric effect, this sensor passes voltage to LCD IC to show temperature.
Q54: i dont understand the use of bimettalic strip we can use just brass only what is the need of iron or steel to use asad khan 18/12/2006
Ans: Two metals joined together expand differently and tend to ‘bend’ rather then only elongate linearly/superficially/volumetrically while a single metal whether it is a compound like brass or steel or element like copper or iron will only expand but not bend. The bending action in reaction to small temperature change makes the bimetallic strip very useful in switching and measurement.
Q55: How can a bimetallic strip be used as a fire alarm aarti 26/10/2006
Ans: Bi-metallic strips react to ambient temperature; these are calibrated to expand after a certain temperature. They are inserted in series to an electrical circuit consisting of a bell and current source and act like a switch, as fire increases the ambient temperature upon receiving heat the strips bend and close the circuit causing the bell to ring
Q56: where do you find bimetallic strips shelby 8/9/2006
Ans: Bimetallic strips find application in thermostat to regulate temperature, in mechanical clocks to provide compensation for the temperature changes and in the thermometers – in the dial thermometers ( patio or meat ) to indicate temperature.
Q57: more animations on heat needed Sam jones 20/7/2006
Ans: thanks for your enquiry, we are uploading a number of them shortly


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