What Is a Thermowell? A Simple Guide to Thermowell Types & Uses

Entropy is one powerful enemy. It will destroy just about anything with enough time. Moving parts, corrosive chemicals, and even just flowing liquid can all, fairly quickly, wear down even very hard metal. 

This is a big problem for sensitive industrial equipment. How do you protect things like thermal sensors while still getting accurate information? The answer is thermowells.

What is a thermowell? It’s basically a metal sheath for thermal sensors. It helps make sure they get accurate readings without being damaged over time and they’re critical to industrial design.

What is a Thermowell?

A thermowell keeps a sensor safe. Unless an industrial process is especially mild or a sensor very durable, you do not want a sensor directly exposed to your process for hours and hours a day. Most sensors just aren’t designed for that.

Don’t cut corners here; make sure your thermowell is chosen correctly so you can avoid damaged sensors or even pipe failure in the future.

Do your research and talk to industrial professionals when reviewing thermowells that might work for your project. “Measure twice, cut once,” as they say so often in industrial design.

You should be especially vigilant if your process involves known causes of metal corrosion when it comes to thermowell design.

Types of Thermowells

Thermowells come in many shapes and sizes. They are often custom-designed too; this lets them more perfectly fit the needs of a given process.

That said, there are at least broadly some ways we can categorize thermowells if we decide to look at their process connection/stems:

  • Socket Weld Thermowells: These thermowells are designed for socket welds, meaning they will be welded into the relevant socket or pipe wall directly. For this reason, they should be specially designed for the long-haul as they’re not coming out easily.
  • Weld-in Thermowells: Also welded in, these thermowells are instead usually just welded right into the piping. This is again a “long-haul” solution and may not be suitable if the industrial process the thermowell will be involved in will involve significant corrosion or pressure.
  • Threaded Thermowells: Exactly as it sounds, threaded thermowells screw (and unscrew) into place. This usually will make replacement (and just general inspection) of the thermowell and protected sensor easier.
  • Flanged Thermowells: This design is great for when corrosion or high pressure are involved in an industrial process. Removal and replacement are made very easy.

If you’re looking for a design solution for your industrial project, talking to a professional will help you avoid choosing wrong. This important because the wrong choice could lead to inaccurate readings or even downright ruining a sensor!

The Thermowell Basics

What is a thermowell? A key component of many a well-designed industrial process! A poorly chosen thermowell could ruin an otherwise fine process, so choose wisely.

If you’re running a company involved in industrial processes, you might also want to check out Sky Five Properties’ industrial real estate. There are some fantastic office and manufacturing spaces available to fit a wide array of needs and budgets!