Temperature control
Temperature control is a process in which change of temperature of a space (and objects collectively therewithin) is measured or otherwise detected, and the passage of heat energy into or out of the space is adjusted to achieve a desired average temperature.

Control loops

A home thermostat
A thermostat is the component of a control system which regulates the temperature of a system so that the system's temperature is maintained near a desired setpoint temperature. The thermostat does this by switching heating or cooling devices on or off, or regulating the flow of a heat transfer...

 is an example of a closed control loop: It constantly assesses the current room temperature and controls a heater and/or air conditioner to increase or decrease the temperature according to user-defined setting(s). A simple (low-cost, cheap) thermostat merely switches the heater or air conditioner either on or off, and temporary overshoot and undershoot of the desired average temperature must be expected. A more expensive thermostat varies the amount of heat or cooling provided by the heater or cooler, depending on the difference between the required temperature (the "setpoint") and the actual temperature. This minimizes over/undershoot. The process is called PID and is implemented using a PID Controller
PID controller
A proportional–integral–derivative controller is a generic control loop feedback mechanism widely used in industrial control systems – a PID is the most commonly used feedback controller. A PID controller calculates an "error" value as the difference between a measured process variable and a...


Energy balance

An object's or space's temperature increases when heat energy moves into it, increasing the average kinetic energy of its atoms, e.g., of things and air in a room. Heat energy leaving an object or space lowers its temperature. Heat flows from one place to another (always from a higher temperature to a lower one) by one or more of three processes: conduction
Heat conduction
In heat transfer, conduction is a mode of transfer of energy within and between bodies of matter, due to a temperature gradient. Conduction means collisional and diffusive transfer of kinetic energy of particles of ponderable matter . Conduction takes place in all forms of ponderable matter, viz....

, convection
Convection is the movement of molecules within fluids and rheids. It cannot take place in solids, since neither bulk current flows nor significant diffusion can take place in solids....

 and radiation
In physics, radiation is a process in which energetic particles or energetic waves travel through a medium or space. There are two distinct types of radiation; ionizing and non-ionizing...

. In conduction, energy is passed from one atom to another by direct contact. In convection, heat energy moves by conduction into some movable fluid (such as air or water) and the fluid moves from one place to another, carrying the heat with it. At some point the heat energy in the fluid is usually transferred to some other object by means conduction again. The movement of the fluid can be driven by negative-buoyancy, as when cooler (and therefor denser) air drops and thus upwardly displaces warmer (less-dense) air (natural convection
Natural convection
Natural convection is a mechanism, or type of heat transport, in which the fluid motion is not generated by any external source but only by density differences in the fluid occurring due to temperature gradients. In natural convection, fluid surrounding a heat source receives heat, becomes less...

), or by fans or pumps (forced convection
Forced convection
Forced convection is a mechanism, or type of heat transport in which fluid motion is generated by an external source...

). In radiation, the heated atoms make electromagnetic emissions absorbed by remote other atoms, whether nearby or at astronomical distance. For example, the Sun radiates heat as both invisible and visible electromagnetic energy. What we know as "light" is but a narrow region of the electromagnetic spectrum.

If, in a place or thing, more energy is received than is lost, its temperature increases. If the amount of energy coming in and going out are exactly the same, the temperature stays constant—there is thermal balance, or thermal equilibrium..

See also

  • Heat exchanger
    Heat exchanger
    A heat exchanger is a piece of equipment built for efficient heat transfer from one medium to another. The media may be separated by a solid wall, so that they never mix, or they may be in direct contact...

  • Moving bed heat exchanger
    Moving bed heat exchanger
    Moving bed heat exchangers are stationary heat exchangers for bulk materials for continuous processes in chemical engineering.-Construction:...

  • Thermal Control System
  • Thermodynamic equilibrium
    Thermodynamic equilibrium
    In thermodynamics, a thermodynamic system is said to be in thermodynamic equilibrium when it is in thermal equilibrium, mechanical equilibrium, radiative equilibrium, and chemical equilibrium. The word equilibrium means a state of balance...

External links

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