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A device which converts thermal energy directly into electrical energy. In its basic form it consists of two dissimilar metallic electrical conductors connected in closed loop. Each junction forms a thermocouple. See thermopile. If the junctions are at different temperatures, an electrical potentials proportional to the temperature difference will exist in the circuit; the value of the potential generated is different for various combinations of materials. For meteorological purposes couples of copper and constantan are frequently used; these generate approximately 40 microvolts per degree C of couple temperature difference. [[/a>|/a> ]]


This article is based on NASA's Dictionary of Technical Terms for Aerospace Use