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Figure 1
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Figure 2
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Team 49

Team Members

Faculty Advisor

Benjamin Tyszka
Dylan Wu

Dr. Wilson Chiu


Pratt & Whitney

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Thermocouple Heat Transfer Surface Error

Thermocouples are tiny electrical devices that measure the temperature of a surface or fluid. They are a critical component in the operation and testing of jet engines. Despite their ubiquity, textbook descriptions of thermocouples often neglect that you have to mount the thermocouple to the surface of interest using an adhesive, in our case, a high-temperature adhesive. Those adhesives cause an error in the thermocouple reading from the "true" temperature of the surface of interest. This project aims to quantify and reduce the error associated with our sponsor's surface thermocouple measurements via a test rig. The completed rig can create a flow and heat transfer environment representative of a jet engine component cooled by forced convection, can record a thermocouple temperature measurement of that surface, and can record the actual surface temperature from a thermal camera mounted above the test rig. We then experimented with the size of our adhesive to identify a configuration that minimizes the error. Our team has also developed analytical models and numerical simulations that identify trends in the heat transfer environment that reduce the error and have evaluated the error associated with our sponsor's current method of installing thermocouples. Our project allows our sponsor's engineers to gain greater insight into the trustworthiness of their thermocouple data.