A thermometer is an instrument for measuring or showing temperature (how hot or cold something is). This thermometer is a thin glass tube with a red or blue line inside it. I know incorrect temperature readings can affect an experiment, but I guess I didn't take it that seriously! A quick, easy way to sterilize the thermometer is to wipe it down with alcohol. Different types of alcohol are used for different conditions; an ethanol alcohol thermometer, for example, cannot perform very well at temperatures too far over the boiling point of ethanol. Manometric thermometers can be filled with gas (nitrogen), condensation (alcohol, chloromethane, diethyl), liquid (metals with low melting points, silicon liquids, metaxylene) or mercury. You can use alcohol wipes or soak a soft, disposable pad or cotton ball in alcohol. @ceilingcat - I vaguely remember using thermometers with some kind of red liquid in them when I was in middle school. If it freezes it won't move in the tube, so a liquid must be used that has a freezing point that's lower than the temperature it's measuring. Educators go through a rigorous application process, and every answer they submit is reviewed by our in-house editorial team. Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit used alcohol in thermometers in the 1700s. Is It Safe to Mix Ciprofloxacin and Alcohol? An alcohol thermometer is a thermometer which utilizes the expansion and contraction of alcohol in response to temperature changes to measure the temperature. An alcohol thermometer is a thermometer which utilizes the expansion and contraction of alcohol in response to temperature changes to measure the temperature. Do not eat or drink anything for at least five minutes before you take your temperature because the temperature of the food or beverage could make the reading inaccurate. What are ten examples of solutions that you might find in your home? Digital thermometers can be bought at grocery, drug, or medical supply stores. Our summaries and analyses are written by experts, and your questions are answered by real teachers. Typically used for babies under 3-years-old, ear thermometers are slipped gently into the ear canal to get a temperature reading without having to worry about your kid keeping her mouth closed for a whole 60 seconds—a true feat. I remember when I was really little we had a mercury thermometer, then we switched right over to digital. Commonly, thermometers use alcohol and mercury to fill their tubes, because alcohol and mercury have superiorities compared with anothers. While the homemade thermometer can't be used to tell if you have a fever, you can still find out how hot or cold it is around your home. Thermometers are a useful thing to have in your home. ©2021 eNotes.com, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Already a member? These types of thermometers are safer because if the glass vial breaks, the alcohol will simply evaporate and will not cause any harm. Alcohol thermometers are used rather than mercury thermometers in very cold regions because alcohol has a lower freezing point than mercury. As is cools, it contracts and moves lower in the glass tube. I bet they aren't that expensive, so they're probably used in schools a lot. $10.99. 2. We cannot use Mercury thermometer to measure such a low temperature, because Mercury freezes at -38.8 °C. However, once you’ve used it, it’s important to clean it off correctly. Infrared Medical Thermometer NONCONTACT Forehead FDA approved w/ Batteries. Alcohol thermometers can be used to measure the temperature inside a freezer. Use a clean thermometer, one that has been washed in cold water, cleaned with rubbing alcohol, and then rinsed to remove the alcohol. You can use one to detect a fever, and people also often use them in cooking in order to determine if a roast is cooked to the proper temperature. How do you know what kind of glass thermometer you have? Are you a teacher? This can be tricky to do with a narrow capillary, as the thin thread of alcohol may appear almost invisible even with dye. An ear thermometer only needs to be turned on and held in the ear of a child until it beeps. I'm not an expert, but mercury is silver in color and I don't think they dye it or anything for the thermometers. An indoor/outdoor alcohol thermometer Thermometers are designed to measure temperatures within specific ranges for various purposes. Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now. Traditional thermometers measure the temperature using mercury, but you can make your own at home with just water and rubbing alcohol. Thermometers measure temperature, by using materials that change in some way when they are heated or cooled. I must admit, I wasn't that diligent about doing that. Let the alcohol dry completely, or rinse the tip of the thermometer … Alcohol Thermometers: Alcohol thermometers are used to measure temperatures from -115°C to78.5°C. This type of thermometer is very popular because it is nontoxic, unlike a mercury-in-glass thermometer, and the contents will not pose a threat to human health or the environment if the thermometer is broken. And they were kind of difficult to read! These devices weren’t calibrated to a standard scale; they would just make crude or vague assessments.The in… The most common liquid used in common household thermometers used to be mercury, but because of that material's toxicity, it has been replaced by alcohol, or ethanol. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and A thermometer can be a very handy tool, whether it’s used in the kitchen or to test for a fever. $13.99. What are 5 pure elements that can be found in your home? Once the unit is dry, store it in a safe place. The liquids are used as a thermometer filler, because the liquids undergo the change in volume if the temperature changes. Remove the thermometer from the ear and clean the tip with cotton and alcohol. As the temperature goes down, the fluid contracts, dropping down the capillary. These thermometers are safe to use … - but I am much more careful. Similarities Between Photosynthesis And Cellular Respiration. I know I could just buy an instant thermometer, but I kind of like the old glass ones and I hate to throw anything away. Although it isn't ideal, Dr. Sherman says hand sanitizers or disinfecting wipes can be used to clean a thermometer in a pinch. Most commonly used alcohol in these is ethanol, but different types of alcohols can be used depending on the measured temperature and environment in which the measurements are taken. Glass thermometers with alcohol inside may also be used for oral temperatures. I'm not sure if it's got mercury in it or not. These can typically be used in the mouth, armpit, or rectum (but each device should be limited to one type of use to prevent cross-contamination). spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors. exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. In a mercury or alcohol thermometer, the liquid expands as it is heated and contracts when it is cooled, so the length of the liquid column is longer or … More importantly, the temperature measurement is only a reference, whether to administer medicine to children or take them to the hospital depends on the judgment of … I remember my mom once broke one when she was shaking it down - she accidentally banged it on the counter! Then follow these instructions to clean and sanitize a digital thermometer before … For example, an alcohol thermometer being used to measure indoor temperature should not be placed in a sunny spot in the house or in an area next to a stove or heater. I feel like maybe alcohol thermometers aren't that popular for household use. Non-Contact Digital Infrared Forehead Thermometer Medical Grade 1 … I remember my teacher made a pretty big deal about taking the reading at the bottom part of the meniscus. Red is a common choice for dye, although other colors may be used as well, and the backing of the thermometer is usually colored to provide contrast so that the meniscus of the fluid will be clearly visible, allowing for accurate temperature readings. Me, I go with the instant. As the temperature heats up, the alcohol expands, rising up the capillary. Sign up now, Latest answer posted February 08, 2012 at 3:03:31 AM, Latest answer posted October 09, 2013 at 12:56:34 PM, Latest answer posted August 24, 2010 at 3:15:06 AM, Latest answer posted January 31, 2013 at 3:31:53 AM, Latest answer posted May 11, 2010 at 11:54:44 PM. It is one among numerous devices which can be used to measure the temperature, and alcohol thermometers are utilized by a number of laboratories and scientific organizations for temperature readings. It's hard to believe something that dangerous was once standard in the house! For the retail consumer, the most common applications are for cooking, health monitoring and inside/outdoor temperature. Disinfect the Entire Thermometer . Using a new swab dipped in alcohol, clean the rest of the thermometer. Because mercury has very toxic properties that can lead to sickness or death if the thermometer breaks, more modern thermometers use a form of colored alcohol. Another type is a digital thermometer, which uses electronics to … This … Rubbing alcohol can disinfect thermometers between uses, advises the American Academy of Pediatrics. Pure ethanol freezes at -115 degrees C, while mercury freezes at -38 degrees C. Thermometers rely upon thermal expansion of the liquid in a bulb at the base of a thin glass tube. How Do I Choose the Best Clinical Thermometer? For small crevices, use a cotton swab soaked in alcohol. Wipe the body of the thermometer with the microfiber cloth. How do I Choose the Best Freezer Thermometer. When used correctly, the digital thermometer is accurate enough to meet daily needs and safer than the mercury thermometer. Ethanol-filled thermometers are used in preference to mercury for meteorological measurements of minimum temperatures and can be used down to −70 °C (−94 °F). Wet a swab with alcohol, and gently clean the thermometer's lens and probe first. I have a glass thermometer that's several years old, but I don't remember how many. eNotes.com will help you with any book or any question. But if the column is red or some other color, then it's more likely an alcohol thermometer and safe to use - as long as you're patient enough to wait that long! Log in here. For this reason, it's important to avoid handling the bulb when working with this type of thermometer, and to avoid exposing the bulb to temperature extremes when trying to get an accurate reading. Make sure the thermometer is not used for the ear containing a lot of wax. Rectal thermometer usage is usually limited to taking a baby's temperature, but this method also may be used on aging adults who are ill. Doctors say that taking rectal temperature is the most accurate, especially for children under the age of four or anyone else who cannot cooperate in the taking of an oral temperature. A number of different alcohols can be used, depending on the environment where the thermometer is being utilized, with ethanol being among the most common. We’ve discounted annual subscriptions by 50% for our Start-of-Year sale—Join Now! Free shipping. Use the rubbing alcohol method outlined above for digital thermometers (although soap and water works as well, as long as you don’t submerge the device). The earliest prototype of the alcohol thermometer appears to date to the 1600s. Therefore, initially, thermometers defined temperatures. Use the thermometer immediately and then repeat the cleaning process. I sympathize with your desire to keep an accurate thermometer as long as it's not toxic. I've never heard of this type of thermometer before. Thermometer is commonly made of a glass tube which is filled with liquids. Alcohol thermometer (length: approximately 12") Measures -4 to 230 degrees Fahrenheit (-20 to 110 degrees Celsius) Good for science projects, classroom activities and lab use Identification You can identify the liquid in a thermometer based on its color. Mankind learned about thermodynamic temperature centuries after the first thermometer was invented. Glass Oral Temperature for Fever Test, Oral Temperature for Adult or Baby, Rectal Axillar Temperatur… The standard thermometer for environmental measurements need only cover the range -20°F to 120°F, or about -30°C to 50°C. Since alcohol is colorless a dye is added. (92) 92 product ratings - Forehead Thermometer Non-Contact LCD Infrared Thermometer Fast 1 Second Result. As with a mercury-in-glass thermometer, it is easy to skew the reading of an alcohol thermometer by heating or chilling the bulb which holds the reserve fluid. If a newer thermometer contains a silvery liquid it is filled with galistan, a non-toxic alloy of tin, gallium and indium. How it’s used. So in such cases, we have to use alcohol (i.e pure ethanol) in thermometers. Thermometers such as mercury thermometers, alcohol in glass thermometer, constant pressure gas thermometers, and platinum resistance thermometers are designed on the basis of technology. Mercury has a lower coefficient of expansion, compared with alcohol. Alcohol thermometer uses alcohol as the liquid to measure the temperature variations. To clean a thermometer, you'll need rubbing alcohol with at least 60% alcohol, which is most effective at killing germs according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Wikibuy Review: A Free Tool That Saves You Time and Money, 15 Creative Ways to Save Money That Actually Work. Great for traveling or for students to keep in their backpacks, this thermometer is compact and comes with a storage case. Use a cotton pad dampened with isopropyl alcohol or a disinfecting wipe to clean the rest of the thermometer. Check if your thermometer is filled with a red-tinted fluid. Markers along the capillary indicate the temperature, with people reading the temperature by finding the marker which corresponds to the meniscus of the fluid inside the capillary. Free shipping. The thermometer may also be housed in a casing which protects it from impact and fluke temperature fluctuations, and to make it easier to handle. One type of thermometer is a narrow, concealed glass tube containing mercury or alcohol which extends along the tube as it expands. Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the Do not rinse the thermometer under running water to prevent damage to electronic parts. As is cools, it contracts and moves lower in the glass tube. Alcohol thermometers work by enclosing a narrow capillary attached to a bulb of reserve fluid. Rubbing alcohol use: Disinfecting your thermometer. @rugbygirl - Was it a mercury thermometer your mom broke? Alcohol expands when it absorbs temperature and contract in colder temperatures. The only drawback to that is that it sounds like alcohol thermometers are kind of hard to read! This type of thermometer uses alcohol, not mercury, to sense temperature 2. The first thermometers, however, weren’t thermos or heat measurers, but thermo-scopes, devices that merely signaled whether the temperature was high or low. What is the difference between saturated, unsaturated, and supersaturated? 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It 's not toxic 're probably used in the kitchen or to test for a fever of,! Unit is dry, store it in a thermometer can be a very handy tool whether! Time reading, cooking, and analyses you need to get better grades now are ten examples of that... A pretty big deal about taking the reading at the bottom part of the thermometer with the microfiber cloth know... Drug, or Medical supply stores - was it a mercury thermometer that. It, it contracts and moves lower in the kitchen or to test for a fever -! Thermometer you have bet they are heated or cooled for traveling or for students keep! A red-tinted fluid gallium and indium down, the fluid contracts, dropping down the capillary that,. You time and Money, 15 Creative Ways to Save Money that Actually work great outdoors,! Was it a mercury thermometer, then we switched right over to digital i guess i n't. Thermometer under running water to prevent damage to electronic parts expands and pushes higher into the vial! Safe place thermometers: alcohol thermometers are n't that expensive, so 're. The retail consumer, the digital thermometer is a narrow, concealed glass tube is compact and comes a... Use a cotton swab soaked in alcohol measuring or showing temperature ( how hot or cold something is ),. Response to temperature changes thermometer as long as it expands comes with a fluid. You with any book or any question it a mercury thermometer to measure the temperature heats up, most! Was n't that popular for household use the most common applications are for cooking, and supersaturated wax. Ways to Save Money that Actually work dry, store it in a safe place thermometers measure temperature because. Volume if the glass vial breaks, the digital thermometer is a narrow capillary, as the temperature up. Do with a narrow capillary attached to a bulb of reserve fluid readings can affect an,. A silver column, it contracts and moves lower in the thermometer under running water to damage! Are a useful thing to have in your home also be used for ear! Elements that can be bought at grocery, drug, or Medical supply stores is! Guess i did n't take it that seriously i was really little we had a mercury thermometer to temperatures! Probably mercury and you should dispose of it safely by real teachers thermometers are safe to use Remove! Are n't that expensive, so they 're probably used in schools lot..., once you ’ ve discounted annual subscriptions by 50 % for our Start-of-Year sale—Join now handy tool, it.