If you are a regular reader of our blog, you have noticed that we have written many posts about thermocouples in the past. Hopefully, you’ve been gleaning information about what thermocouples are and how you can profit from the platinum, rhodium, silver and other precious metals they contain.
What you might not know, however, is that thermocouples are becoming a better and better option for precious metal investors, especially those who have selected platinum as their investment metal of choice.
Why are thermocouples that contain platinum such a good choice for precious metal investors right now? Here are some reasons you should know about . . .
Thermocouples Are Plentiful
They are relatively easy to find and can often be bought at low prices that promise a significant ROI for the dollars you invest.
Certain other items, including catalytic converters and laboratory testing equipment, are becoming less attractive as an investment option. Why? Because other investors have discovered them and have found ways to buy up the cat converters that are available. But if you buy thermocouples and send them to Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners for testing and processing, you could be in for a pleasant surprise.
What Are Thermocouples?
They are wires that contain more than one metal that have been bonded together. And they do something very special. When the temperature at one end (the “hot end”) of the thermocouple rises or falls, the amount of current that the thermocouple generates changes. So when the current at the other end of the thermocouple (the “cold end”) is measured, changes can be used to determine the temperature at the other “hot” end of the thermocouple wire.
Still with me here? To make it simpler, you can think of a thermocouple as a kind of long, wire-like thermometer that can be used to measure temperatures remotely. And thermocouples can perform another useful function too: they can be connected to devices that control the temperature at the other end of the thermocouple.
So what does that mean? How can thermocouples be used? Here are some examples . . .
On a production line where ceramics are being made in a kiln, a thermocouple can run from that kiln to a control unit that is located remotely. Then when the temperature rises or falls on the “hot” end in the kiln, the thermocouple “reports” those changes to a control unit that increases or decreases the temperature of the kiln. In other words, the thermocouple is being used in a device that keeps temperatures within a specific range.
In a kitchen cooking range, a thermocouple runs from the interior of the oven to a control unit. So when you are cooking a turkey and you want the temperature to stay at 400 degrees, the thermocouple will monitor the temperature and literally “turn up the gas” when the temperatures drop.
In a central air conditioning system that has been installed in an office building, thermocouples run from thermostats in several zones in the building to the central unit. When the temperature rises in a zone, the central cooling unit gets “instructions” from the thermocouples to turn up the AC there. And again, the result is that temperatures are remotely controlled.
What Do Thermocouples Look Like?
They look like long wires, usually silver/white in color. They are sometimes wrapped in copper mesh or glass fiber casings. There is usually a fitting at both their ends which is used to connect them to a sensor, a controller, or a thermostat.
When you are buying new or unneeded thermocouples, they are typically neatly coiled, labeled, and packaged in small plastic bags. If you are buying used thermocouples, they can be tangled up together like spaghetti.
Sometimes, they have numbers or other identifiers stamped on the fittings on their ends that you can look up online to determine their content. At other times, not.
A Quick Tour of Specialized Thermocouples
Ultra-high thermocouple probes are specially designed to monitor temperatures as high as 4,000⁰ F.
Roller-head thermocouple probes have specialized fixtures at the “hot” end that allow that end of the thermocouple to roll over the surface of materials that are being made on a production line. One example? If a thermocouple is being used to monitor the temperature of sheet metal that is being annealed on a production line, that thermocouple might be equipped with a roller head.
Molten metal thermocouples can be immersed into molten metals, where they can measure very high temperatures.
Infrared thermocouples have special infrared sensors on their “hot” ends that can be used to measure the temperature of metals and ceramics without actually touching them.
Sanitary thermocouples are used to remotely measure the temperature of foods, medicines and other materials that should not be contaminated. And sanitary thermocouples can be cleaned and returned to the production line. One example? A sanitary thermocouple can be used to monitor the temperature of dairy products that are being pasteurized.
Handheld thermocouples are used by technicians to monitor temperatures. For example, a worker can use a handheld thermocouple to measure temperatures on a production line.
Plus, many thermocouples are wrapped with insulation that is made of glass fiber, braided copper, braided stainless steel, and other materials. Be on the lookout for all these varieties of thermocouples!
Where Can You Find Them?
There are plenty of places. To name only a few . . .
Piles of junked window air conditioners.
Buildings that are being demolished, where you can find them in both the heating and cooling systems.
Junked appliances including electric and gas stoves, refrigerators, window air conditioning units, space heaters, and more.
Factories, food processing companies and businesses that have been closed.
And where can you find those items? Well, if you think about that question for only a minute or two, you will be able to answer that question pretty well for yourself. Used appliance stores, junkyards, and factories that are being demolished are all good places to hunt for thermocouples.
How Do YOU Know How Much Your Thermocouple “Spaghetti” Is Worth?
Call Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners today, tell us what you have. Our precious metal consultants will be pleased to explain our simple and convenient approach to testing your thermocouples. Then, if you decide to have us recycle them for you, we will quickly extract the platinum and other precious metals they contain and send you prompt payment at current trading prices.
Call 800-426-2344 to learn more.
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