The physical dimensions and size requirements can be more complicated than you might think. On the low end, a resistance element to be used in the construction of a sheathed RTD generally requires only that the element is small enough to fit into the desired sheath ID. For cylindrical elements, such as wire-wound units, this is obvious-just don’t forget to allow for the wall thickness of the sheath. For thin film-type elements, we must apply the Pythagorean theorem; we need to know the width of the element, w, and the thickness of the element at its largest point, t. Then the minimum ID of the sheath will be given by; ID > (w2 + t2).
When we begin to discuss RTD probes and assemblies, the subject becomes more demanding. We need to examine the mounting arrangement: will it be used for direct immersion or with a thermowell? Or will it be something special, like an exposed airflow probe or surface mount sensor? Probe designs are endless in their configurations, and it seems that most applications have some unique requirements that make this a rather creative field in itself.
In many applications, the probe is immersed in a small vessel or piping system. Dimensions here are generally limited to sensor diameter (which affects response time); immersion depth into the fluid; and the mounting arrangement, i.e., will the sensor be screwed into a threaded port, typically with ANSI tapered threads, or will it be used in con-junction with a fluid seal already in place? Or will some other special considerations need to be made? There may be other variables, such as pressure limitations or high flow, depending on the complexity of the application. It is always best to look at the whole picture. and then discuss it with your applications engineer.
Thermowells are generally used for larger vessels and systems so that the system will not have to be drained in the event the sensor requires calibration or changing. Assuming the thermowell has already been specified, we need only to specify the probe diameter (typically ¼ in. OD for a 0.260 in. bore well), the depth of the thermowell bore, and how the RTD will be secured into the well (typically spring-loaded through a ½ in. NPT nipple or hex-nipple).