Skip to main content
Select Source:

thermostat

thermostat, automatic device that regulates temperature in an enclosed area by controlling heating or refrigerating systems. It is commonly connected to one of these systems, turning it on or off in order to maintain a predetermined temperature. Its operating principle is based on the fact that one of its components expands or contracts significantly during a temperature change. This expansion or contraction actuates a control on a furnace, cooling system, or piece of machinery. The thermostat sometimes uses mercury, which expands when heated and rises in a glass tube until, at a predetermined point, it touches an electrical contact to complete a circuit and thereby actuate a control; conversely, during a lowering of temperature the mercury descends in the tube and breaks the circuit. The thermostat often uses a bimetallic strip, which is made of two thin metallic pieces of different composition that are bonded together. As the temperature of the strip changes, the two pieces change length at different rates, forcing the strip to bend. This bending causes the strip to make or break a circuit.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"thermostat." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"thermostat." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 20, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/thermostat

"thermostat." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved October 20, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/thermostat

thermostat

ther·mo·stat / ˈ[unvoicedth]ərməˌstat/ • n. a device that automatically regulates temperature, or that activates a device when the temperature reaches a certain point. DERIVATIVES: ther·mo·stat·ic / ˌ[unvoicedth]ərməˈstatik/ adj. ther·mo·stat·i·cal·ly / ˌ[unvoicedth]ərməˈstatik(ə)lē/ adv.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"thermostat." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"thermostat." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 20, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/thermostat-0

"thermostat." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved October 20, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/thermostat-0

thermostat

thermostat Device for maintaining a constant temperature. A common type contains a strip of two metals, one of which expands and contracts more than the other. At a set temperature, the strip bends and breaks the circuit. As it cools, the strip straightens, makes contact, and the heating begins again once the circuit is complete. Thermostats are used in air-conditioning systems and in refrigerators, ovens and water heaters.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"thermostat." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"thermostat." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 20, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/thermostat

"thermostat." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved October 20, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/thermostat

thermostat

thermostat •Eurocrat • ziggurat • muskrat •theocrat • jurat • Ballarat • democrat •technocrat • bureaucrat • aristocrat •autocrat • plutocrat • babysat •Comsat • Randstad • Darmstadt •diktat • habitat • Eisenstadt •Kronstadt • cryostat • aerostat •aegrotat • rheostat • haemostat •thermostat • photostat

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"thermostat." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"thermostat." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 20, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/thermostat

"thermostat." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved October 20, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/thermostat