The Difference Between Medical and Industrial Thermometers

Not all thermometers are created equal. While a nurse may check your temperature with a laser thermometer, workers in industrious environments use vastly different heat-measuring devices. Medical and industrial thermometers differ in many aspects, which we will explore here. Read on to learn the difference between medical and industrial thermometers.

Contact and Non-Contact Thermometers

A significant difference between medical and industrial thermometers lies in the method of temperature measurement. Although most medical offices now use non-contact thermometers to take quick readings, medical professionals still use under-the-tongue thermometers (usually with a metal probe covered with a sterile sheath) to get accurate readings.

Industrial thermometers can be contact or non-contact. Infrared thermometers are non-contact and measure temperature from a distance by detecting the infrared energy an object emits. This method is particularly useful in industrial settings where direct contact with a material could be hazardous or impractical due to high temperatures or inaccessible locations.

Temperature Range

Medical thermometers have a relatively narrow temperature range, usually between 94 degrees and 108 degrees Fahrenheit (34–42 degrees Celsius). This range is sufficient for detecting human body temperatures.

In contrast, industrial thermometers have a broader temperature range. They can measure extremely low temperatures in cryogenic processes and incredibly high temperatures in steel production or glass manufacturing. This ability makes industrial thermometers valuable in industrial applications.

Accuracy of the Readings

Accurate temperature measurement is paramount in medical and industrial applications. Medical thermometers must be accurate to detect small changes in body temperature that might indicate illness in patients. Most medical thermometers have an accuracy of +/- 0.1 degrees Celsius or smaller.

Industrial thermometers must also be precise, but the degree of precision depends on the application. Some industrial processes demand exactness, while others allow for a margin of error. The broad temperature range of industrial thermometers makes their readings less precise than those of medical thermometers.

Applications and Environments

Healthcare professionals use medical thermometers to measure human body temperatures for medical examinations or to monitor the progress of an illness. They are essential tools in healthcare and are common in first aid kits.

Industrial thermometers have a wide range of applications across various industries. They are common in food processing, manufacturing, HVAC systems, and many other areas requiring temperature control. Their versatility and broad temperature range make them invaluable in harsh environments or in measuring temperatures of hazardous materials.

Methods of Calibration

Did you know thermometers require periodic recalibration? Methods of thermometer calibration can include comparing two thermometers or performing sophisticated tests and adjustments.

Medical and industrial thermometers have significant differences. Their methods of measurement, temperature range, accuracy, and applications make them useful in different environments. Still, both thermometer types ensure accurate temperature readings.

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Written by Logan Voss

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