Development of a guard-heated thermistor probe for the accurate measurement of surface temperature

Takahiro Okabe, Junnosuke Okajima, Atsuki Komiya, Shigenao Maruyama

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


It is difficult to accurately measure the absolute value of the surface temperature of a material through ordinary methods such as with a thermocouple or a thermistor. This is due to heat loss along the electrical lead wires of the component, which causes conduction error and can ultimately influence the results. In this paper, we propose a thermistor probe that utilizes a guard heater. The goal of this design is to obtain an accurate measurement of the surface temperature of a material at a higher temperature than the ambient temperature. The probe consists of two thermistors, each with a diameter of 0.43 mm. One thermistor was utilized for the temperature sensor, while the other was used with the guard heater to minimize heat loss, and inserted into a fluorinated ethylene propylene (FEP) tube. The guard heater was placed above a half-exposed thermistor, and operated as both a sensor and a heater in order to minimize the temperature difference between the two thermistors. To evaluate the minimization of heat loss along the thermistor's lead wires in a surface temperature measurement, experiments were conducted with the surface of an aluminum block heated to 35.00 °C in two scenarios. Measurements were taken using a guard-heated thermistor probe with and without guard heating. The experimental results showed that the surface temperature was measured as 34.98 °C in the scenario where guard heating was utilized, and 34.79 °C in the scenario where it was not utilized. Therefore, the results experimentally demonstrated that the guard heater allowed the thermistor probe to provide a more accurate measurement of the surface temperature, regardless of the contact method. In addition, a two-dimensional axisymmetric heat conduction analysis was also conducted. The purpose was to quantitatively evaluate the amount of heat that passes through the lead wires of a thermistor while it is measuring the surface temperature of a heated material. The calculation results confirmed that a guard heater successfully minimized heat loss through the lead wires. The minimized heat loss was −0.016 mW, which was one-sixth of the loss measured in the scenario without guard heating.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2283-2292
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Guard heater
  • Heat loss
  • Surface temperature
  • Temperature measurement
  • Thermistor


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