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What is a bimetallic strip?

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Quick Answer

A bimetallic strip is a device used to change heat energy into mechanical motion. It is made of two varying metals that expand at different rates when exposed to heat; the metals are joined to form a concentric coil or a straight strip.

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Full Answer

A common pair of metals used in bimetallic strips is brass and steel. When the strip is exposed to heat, brass expands faster than steel, so the strip curves with brass on the outside. When cooled, the strip curves with steel on the outside.

Bimetallic strips are quite useful for the measurement and detection of temperature changes. The coil-type bimetallic strip is used in thermostats because of their increased sensitivity. Bimetallic strips are also used in electrical breakers where excessive current heats up the strip and bends to trip the switch and interrupt the current.

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