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Alcohol thermometer

The Alcohol thermometer or Spirit thermometer is an alternative to the Mercury-in-glass thermometer, and functions in a similar way. An organic liquid is contained in a glass bulb which is connected to a capillary of the same glass and the end is sealed with an expansion bulb. The space above the liquid is a mixture of nitrogen and the vapour of the liquid. For the working temperature range, the meniscus or interface between the liquid is within the capillary. With increasing temperature, the volume of liquid expands and the meniscus moves up the capillary. The position of the meniscus shows the temperature against an inscribed scale.

The liquid used can be pure ethanol or toluene or kerosene or iso-amyl acetate, depending on manufacturer and working temperature range. Since these are transparent, the liquid is made more visible by the addition of a red or blue dye. One half of the glass containing the capillary is usually enamelled white or yellow to give a background for reading the scale.


  • ASTM E2251-03a Standard Specification for Liquid-in-Glass ASTM Thermometers with Low-Hazard Precision Liquids
  • British Standard BS 1900 (1976) Secondary Reference Thermometers
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Alcohol_thermometer". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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