The world of temperature sensors: NTC and PTC thermistors at the focus

2024-02-20 Products

In a world where precision and efficiency are becoming increasingly important, temperature sensors play a crucial role in a variety of applications. Whether it's controlling the temperature of a room, ensuring the safety of electronic devices or monitoring complex industrial processes, the right choice of temperature sensor is crucial. Among the different types of temperature sensors, NTC (Negative Temperature Coefficient) and PTC (Positive Temperature Coefficient) resistors are two of the most commonly used types. In this blog post, we take a closer look at these two sensors and learn how they work and where their strengths lie.


NTC resistors: The power of negative temperature coefficients

NTC resistors are thermosensitive components whose resistance decreases with increasing temperature. This behavior is based on the property of certain materials to change their electrical properties with increasing temperature. Typically, NTC resistors are made of ceramic materials such as silicon dioxide doped with metals such as manganese.

The way an NTC temperature sensor works is based on the principle of semiconductor physics. As the temperature rises, the electrons in the material move faster, which leads to increased conductivity and therefore reduces the resistance of the component. This behavior makes NTC temperature sensors ideal for applications where precise temperature measurement is required, such as in thermometers, heating and air conditioning controls or battery management systems.

Typical areas of application for NTC temperature sensors:


PTC resistors: On the positive side of the temperature coefficients

In contrast to NTC resistors, the resistance of PTC resistors increases with rising temperature. This behavior is based on the opposite effect, where the number of free charge carriers in a material decreases with increasing temperature, resulting in increased resistance. PTC resistors are often made of materials such as barium titanate or polymers with a positive temperature coefficient.

The unique properties of PTC temperature sensors make them particularly useful in applications where overheating must be prevented. For example, they are often used in protection circuits for electronic devices to detect overcurrent or overheating and cut off the power supply if necessary.

Typical areas of application for PTC temperature sensors:


Selecting the right sensor

Choosing the appropriate temperature sensor depends on a number of factors, including the requirements of the specific application, the accuracy of the temperature measurement and the cost. Both NTC and PTC resistors offer unique features and benefits that can be critical depending on the application.

When precise temperature measurement is required and the temperature decreases with increasing ambient temperature, NTC resistors are often the best choice. They offer high sensitivity and a fast response time, making them ideal for applications such as heating and air conditioning controls.

On the other hand, PTC resistors are well suited for applications where overheating must be prevented. Their positive temperature dependence allows them to serve as self-regulating elements in protective circuits, thus improving the safety of electronic devices.

Analysis of the areas of application of NTC and PTC thermistors shows that their use goes far beyond simple temperature measurements. Their specific properties make them key elements in modern technology, and their ongoing development promises innovation in many industries.
NTC and PTC thermistors - small components, big impact.

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