A mechanism for the oxidation-related influence on the thermoelectric behavior of palladium

W. S. Ohm, K. D. Hill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Oxidation of thermocouple elements can degrade the accuracy of thermocouple-based temperature measurements. As a particular example of such effects, oxidation of the Pd element of a platinum/palladium thermocouple is known to increase the thermoelectric emf by an amount equivalent to a temperature change of the order of 100 mK to 200 mK at 420 °C (G. W. Burns, D. C. Ripple, Proceedings of TEMPMEKO'96, 6th International Symposium on Temperature and Thermal Measurements in Industry and Science. Levrotto and Bella, Torino, 1997, 171-176). A possible physical mechanism to explain how oxidation affects the thermoelectric output of a Pt/Pd thermocouple is proposed. The analysis hinges on the hypothesis that the oxide-induced strain within the Pd thermoelement leads to a change in the Seebeck coefficient, and therefore to the thermoelectric emf. A theoretical model relating deformation of the palladium lattice to the change in the Seebeck coefficient is presented. The level of agreement between the calculation and the experimental observations suggests that oxide-induced strain in the Pd thermoelement is a likely explanation for the change in thermoelectric output of a Pt/Pd thermocouple within the temperature range where oxidation is active.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1402-1416
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Thermophysics
Issue number8-9
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Sept

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics


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