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Galileo Thermometers

Galileo Thermometers

Named after Galileo Galilei for his discovery of the principle on which this thermometer is based. Galileo thermometers are made of a sealed glass cylinder containing a clear liquid and several glass bulbs of varying mass. As the temperature changes, the individual floats rise or fall in proportion to their respective weights and the density of the surrounding liquid.

.The small glass bulbs are partly filled with different colored liquids. The composition of these liquids is not important for the functioning of the thermometer; they merely function as fixed weights and their colors are only for decoration. Once the bulbs have been sealed, their effective densities are adjusted by means of the metal tags hanging from beneath them. Any expansion due to the temperature change of the colored liquid and air gap inside the bulbs does not affect the operation of the thermometer, as these materials are sealed inside a glass bulb of fixed size. The clear liquid in which the bulbs are submerged is not water, but some organic compound (such as ethanol) the density of which varies with temperature more than water does. Temperature changes affect the density of the outer clear liquid and this causes the bulbs to rise or sink.

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