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Overview         (For age - group : Above 16 )

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?

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.

More of this in the animation

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