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Kenneth K. Chen Ph.D.

Advance Coating Solution CIC Products

Engineering Consultant
1708 Production Circle, Riverside, CA 92509-1717
Tel: 909-684-1682 e-mail: Fax: 909-684-1691

October 23, 2002

Subject: Temperature and Heat reading:

Recently Mr. Larry Nishiguchi demonstrated that on a heated tank surface

coated with ACS CIC insulation, the mercury thermometer and electronic
thermocouple give different reading. Most people think thermometer is a
thermometer no mater it is a mercury meter or an electronic thermocouple. The
read should always be the same.

What is temperature?

Temperature is a one dimensional scale and defines how hot or cold of an

environment or material or surface is by means of a numerical format. It was
initially defined by using water as a standard. When water reaches boiling point
at sea level, we call it 100° C or 212° F. When we mixing water and ice, or at
sea level when water just started to form ice we call it 0° C or 32° F. When water
completely become ice, we call it 0° F or -17.78° C.

Why is temperature a one dimensional scale? If we only know temperature, we

do not know how much heat is contained in an environment or in a material or on
a surface. This would be like giving voltage as a comparison to electricity without
considering amperage (as the power unit or degree of flow rate).

A quick comparison can be made when looking at temperatures in different cities.

When the temperature reading is the same 100° F (37.8° C) in Los Angeles, in
Houston and in Tokyo. In Los Angeles people feel much better than people in
Houston or in Tokyo. This is due to Los Angeles dry air or the humidity.
Therefore even temperature is the same, the air contains much less heat. On
the other hand the air in Tokyo or Houston the humidity is very high. The air
contains a lot of heat. Thus temperature is a one dimensional heat/cold form of
measurement. Without considering the power of flow rate of the heat/cold, we do
not effectively describe how much total heat is transferred.

What is total Heat?

Total Heat is defined as “kcal” is the amount of heat to raise temperature of one
kilogram water from 14.5° C to 15.5° C in metric system. In the British system,

Ken Chen PhD Temperature Measurement

For Insulating Coatings
one BTU is defined as the amount of heat required to raise one pound of water
by one degree F.

As we describe total heat, it can be further broken down into sub categories to
further define how heat or energy is generate. This can be described or plotted
as Intensity Heat Flux vs. Wavelength of the heat

The attached Fig. 1 depicts the energy spectral flux of a steel plate at
temperatures of 1000° K (727° C, 1340° F), 350° K (77° C, 171° F) and 273° K
(0° C, 32° F. The scale may not be exact; it is only used to demonstrate the
energy distribution.

The same amount of heat, the same temperature, the curve of energy spectral
flux may be different shape due to material difference.

What is a thermometer?

The simple answer is:

A mercury thermometer is an instrument we use the properties of mercury

volume changes at different temperature. Is that really just temperature?
Mercury can sense the energy flux between certain wavelength. The
thermometer we are using is calibrated by measure water temperature.

What is a thermocouple?

A thermocouple is an instrument we use the properties of two wires

electrical resistance change due to temperature. It is also calibrated by
measure water temperature. This thermocouple can only sense the
energy flux between certain wavelengths.

The range of wavelength which can be sensed by a mercury meter and

thermocouple meter certainly are not the same. Since they are all calibrated
according to water temperature, therefore you will get the same reading for water

The heat energy flux distribution of different materials are all different. If
the difference is outside the range of wavelength a thermocouple can
sense then the thermocouple will not be able to tell the difference.

Fig. 2 depicts three different surfaces; steel, glass and glass covered with ACS
CIC at the same temperature, reading from a thermocouple thermometer. If the
thermocouple thermometer is calibrated at a defined wave spectrum from visible
light to medium infrared (wavelength between 500 nm to 1200 nm for example)
the thermometer will measure very little difference between these three surfaces.

Ken Chen PhD Temperature Measurement

For Insulating Coatings
In essence the thermocouple is not measuring the true performance (benefit)
of the ACS CIC

It appears that a mercury thermometer can pick up some of the longer

wavelength energy say up to 1500 nm. Therefore the mercury thermometer
senses the true temperature difference. Our human hand can sense even longer
wavelengths - up to 2000 nm. Any thing our human hand can touch the
temperature is less than 60° C (140° F). Any larger than 60°C (140°F) and it
normally becomes outside the range of human comfort.

The conclusion is that the thermocouples typically used to measure

temperatures on ACS CIC treated surfaces may not accurately measure
temperature or the benefit (reduction in true temperature provided by ACS CIC).

Fig. 1 Energy Spectral Flux (W m^-2 nm^-1)




Spectral Flux (W m^-2 nm^-1)


Steel T = 1000 K
Steel T =350 K
Steel T =273 K




500 1000 1500 2000 2500 3000

Wavelength (nm)

Ken Chen PhD Temperature Measurement

For Insulating Coatings
Fig. 2 Energy Spectral Flux of Different Surface


Steel T =350 K
Glass T =350 K
CC-100 T =350 K


Spectral Flux (W m^-2 nm^-1)




500 1000 1500 2000 2500
Wavelength (nm)

Ken Chen PhD Temperature Measurement

For Insulating Coatings

⇒ Temperature and the power heat energy flux define any surface as
a two dimensional measurement of heat/cold transfer.
⇒ Electronic thermocouple meter only sense the heat flux from visible
light to near infrared range.
⇒ Glass mercury thermometers can sense the heat flux from visible
light to mid infrared range.

⇒ Our human hand or animal can sense the heat flux from visible light
to far infrared range.

⇒ ACS CIC reflects the longer wavelength heat energy flux mostly in
infrared to far infrared wavelength. If we use electronic
thermocouple meters, we may not pick up the true heat energy flux
reduction due to installation of ACS CIC. Our human hand
certainly can sense the true heat energy flux reduction. A Glass
mercury thermometer is in between, it does sense some of the
heat energy flux reduction.

Ken Chen PhD

Technical Consultant

Ken Chen PhD Temperature Measurement

For Insulating Coatings