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Last updated on June 14th, 2022 at 10:34 pm

The temperature of substances is measured using both laboratory and clinical thermometers. They’re critical in confirming hypotheses, saving lives, and doing other procedures that promote life skills. These instruments are also subjected to standardization and calibration tests. The descriptions and difference between clinical thermometer and laboratory thermometer covered in the following sections. 

What Is a Clinical Thermometer?

Clinical thermometers are used to assess the temperature of the human body and are also known as medical thermometers. They can assess temperatures in the range of 35 to 42 degree Celsius. They should be sterilised prior to application for reasons of cleanliness and safety. The below are the most frequent technologically based clinical thermometers- 

  • Digital Thermometer – It uses a sensor to determine the body’s temperature. This device can be used in the mouth (oral), the rectum (rectal), or under the arm (subcutaneous) (auxiliary).
  • Disposable Thermometer – It’s a plastic strip with temperature-sensitive chemicals incorporated in it that show up as dots on the surface. Because reusing equipment can be unclean, this is best used in clinics and hospitals.
  • Glass and Mercury Thermometer – It is made of glass that includes mercury, as the name implies. The mercury expands as the body heat expands, indicating the temperature. It is inserted under the tongue, armpit, or rectum. The use of this type of thermometer, which was once fairly prevalent, is now discouraged due to the risk of mercury exposure.
  • Electronic Ear Thermometer – The heat from the inside of the ear is detected by this instrument. As a result, the amount of earwax may impair its accuracy.
  • Forehead Thermometer – It detects the temporal artery’s infrared heat. When compared to the other varieties, it is less accurate.

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What Is a Laboratory Thermometer ?

Laboratory thermometers are commonly used to monitor experiments, evaluate test materials, calibrate instruments, and perform other scientific activities. Many scientists use them to determine the freezing and boiling temperatures of water. The temperature range is -10 to 110 degrees Celsius since they can be used with a variety of solvents. Though most thermometers are made of glass, some are made of metals that have been strengthened through annealing or thermal tempering. The most frequent types of laboratory thermometers are as follows-

  • Liquid-in-glass thermometer – It’s built of sealed glass that’s filled with red alcohol or mercury, that elevates in temperature.
  • Thermometer with a Bimetallic Strip – Bimetallic strip thermometers are often less expensive and easier to use than glass-stem thermometers. However, because they do not include liquids that expand to highly precise units, they may be less precise. A bimetallic strip thermometer is made up of two different metals that are joined together. The metals expand at different lengths and speeds due to their different consistencies. This causes the bimetallic strip to bend in the direction of lower coefficient thermal expansion, deflecting a pointer over a regulated temperature scale.
  • Infrared thermometer – It converts infrared energy into an electrical signal that may be interpreted as a Fahrenheit or Celsius temperature scale.
  • Electronic thermometer – It evaluates fluctuations in electrical resistance, which are subsequently transferred to temperature changes.

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Difference Between Clinical Thermometer and Laboratory Thermometer

There is a similarity between clinical thermometer and laboratory thermometer as they both are used to measure the temperature and also, both of them use mercury inside it. However, even after the material and usage there is a certain difference between clinical thermometer and laboratory thermometer. Read the following points to understand the difference between both of these thermometers.

Point of differenceClinical ThermometerLaboratory Thermometer
Range35°C- 42°C-10°C- 110°C
AccuracyLess accurateMore accurate
UsageMostly used at home and in medical areas like hospitals, clinics.These are used in laboratories.
ApplicationCan be placed underneath the armpit, inside mouth, or anus.It can be submerged partially or completely in rectum.
UserIt can be used by anyone.It is used by people working in the scientific field.
PurposeUsed for health purposes.Used for scientific purposes. 
MercuryUsed by the masses and has more restrictions.Mercury is often less harmful among laboratory thermometer users.
AccessibilityEasily available.Not easily available.
Other FactorsWhen it comes to clinical thermometers, the nature of the suspected sickness and the individual’s developmental stage are usually taken into account. When it comes to laboratory thermometers, the nature of the study method is the most important consideration.
What liquid material is filled inside the bulb of the thermometer?

The liquid material is Mercury. 

Why only mercury is used in thermometers?

Only mercury is used in thermometers because it being the only metal in liquid form is an excellent conductor of heat, room temperature and electricity.

In which thermometer is kink present?

Kink is present in clinical thermometers in order to stop sudden back flow of mercury.

State the use of clinical thermometer & laboratory thermometer.

You are requested to read the above given sections of this post to know more about the uses of these thermometers.

What is the range of temperature in clinical thermometer & laboratory thermometer?

In a clinical thermometer it is 35°C- 42°C whereas in laboratory thermometer it is -10°C- 110°C.