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Química Nova

versão impressa ISSN 0100-4042versão On-line ISSN 1678-7064


PIRES, Denise Prazeres Lopes; AFONSO, Júlio Carlos  e  CHAVES, Francisco Artur Braun. From the thermoscope to the digital thermometer: four centuries of thermometry. Quím. Nova [online]. 2006, vol.29, n.6, pp.1393-1400. ISSN 0100-4042.

This work describes the evolution of temperature measurement in the last four centuries using thermometers based on the thermal expansion of liquids such as ethyl alcohol and mercury. The concept of temperature was strongly dependent on the researcher and there was no systematic temperature scale for universal use. The precursor of the common thermometer was the thermoscope, probably invented at the end of the XVIth century. In the XVIIIth century the instrument was greatly improved and several thermometric scales were proposed some of which have been in use until now. These scales were based on arbitrary points. Mercury and ethyl alcohol were the most employed thermometric fluids. In the XIXth century, the concept of absolute zero was a great advance in this field. The most important contribution during the XXth century was the establishment of international temperature scales. The design of the thermometer has been essentially the same along the last 300 years, but many models were proposed for industrial and research purposes. Its association with the densimeter was of great importance for control of industrial chemical processes and also for teaching purposes in the past. Nowadays, there is a clear tendency to replace mercury-based thermometers by electronic digital models. Thermochemistry is the natural relationship between temperature and chemistry.

Palavras-chave : hermometry; thermometer; thermochemistry.

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