Type N Thermocouple - Technical Information

Type N - Nickel-Chromium-Silicon vs Nickel-Silicon

Thermocouple Type N, was billed as the revolutionary replacement for the Type K thermocouple (the most common in industrial use), but without its drawbacks - Type N (Nicrosil-Nisil) exhibits a much greater resistance to oxidation-related drift at high temperatures than its rival, and to the other common instabilities of Type K in particular, but also the other base metal thermocouples to a degree (see Part 1, Section 2.4). It can thus handle higher temperatures than Type K (1,280°C, and higher for short periods).

Type N Thermocouples - Popular Constructions and Styles

Type N Mineral Insulated
Type N Thermocouples with Mineral InsulationRugged sensors, ideal for most applications. Vast choice of terminations e.g. pot seals, cables, connectors, heads etc.
Type N Thermocouples for use in Heat Treatment Applications Type N Thermocouples for heat TreatmentCalibrated thermocouples designed to meet the high quality and accuracies demanded for heat treatment within the Aerospace industry Type N Miniature
Miniature Type N ThermocouplesIdeal for precision temperature measurements where minimal displacement and a fast response is required.
Type N Heavy Duty
Type N Heavy Duty ThermocoupleFor industrial applications such as furnaces, kilns, ovens, boilers, flues etc. Many types of sheath material available.
General Purpose
Type N Thermocouples
General Use Type N ThermocouplesA wide range of thermocouples to suit many applications. Hand held, surface, bayonet, bolt, patch styles etc.
ATEX/IECEx Approved
Type N Thermocouples
ATEX approved Type N ThermocouplesA large range of thermocouples with a variety of terminations such as pot seal, terminal heads etc.

Mineral Insulated Thermocouples - Type N (and other types)

with Pot Seal
0.062" to 0.313" dia.
Type N Thermocouple with Pot Seal a large selection of plain and threaded pot seals supplied with tails or extension cable (PVC, PFA, Fiberglass etc.)
with Miniature Plug
0.062" to 0.125" dia.
Type N Thermocouple with Mini Plug fitted with a miniature thermocouple plug
with Miniature Jack
0.062" to 0.125" dia.
Type N Thermocouple with Mini Jackfitted with a miniature thermocouple jack
with Standard Plug
0.062" to 0.250" dia.
Type N Thermocouple with Standard Plugfitted with a standard thermocouple plug
with Standard Jack
0.062" to 0.250" dia.
Type N Thermocouple with Standard Jackfitted with a standard thermocouple jack
with Micro die cast alloy head 0.125" to 0.250" dia. Micro die cast alloy screw down terminal head with ceramic terminal block. Suitable for simplex and duplex assemblies with Miniature IP67 die cast head 0.125" to 0.313" dia.Weatherproof die cast alloy screw top terminal head with ceramic terminal block. Suitable for simplex and duplex assemblies with Standard IP67 die cast head 0.188" to 0.500" dia. Type N Thermocouple with Die Cast HeadWeatherproof die cast alloy screw top terminal head with ceramic terminal block. Suitable for simplex, duplex and triplex assemblies with IP67 heavy duty cast iron head 0.188" to 0.500"dia. Weatherproof cast iron screw top terminal head with ceramic terminal block. Suitable for simplex, duplex and triplex assemblies with 316 Stainless Steel head
0.188" to 0.500"dia.
Weatherproof 316 stainless steel screw top terminal head with ceramic terminal block. Suitable for simplex and duplex assemblies
with spring loaded terminal block 0.125", 0.188", 0.250" and 0.313" dia.Spring loaded insert assemblies. The end seal is incorporated into a terminal block for mounting into any standard terminal head

Thermocouple Oxidation - Type N Thermocouples

Basically, oxidation resistance is superior because of the combination of a higher level of chromium and silicon in the positive Nicrosil conductor. Similarly, a higher level of silicon and magnesium in the negative Nisil conductor form a protective diffusion barrier. The device also shows much improved repeatability in the 300°C to 500°C range where Type K’s stability is somewhat lacking (due to hysteresis induced by magnetic and/or structural inhomogeneities). High levels of chromium in the NP conductor and silicon in the NN conductor provide improved magnetic stability.

Beyond this, it does not suffer other long term drift problems associated with transmutation of the high vapour pressure elements in mineral insulated thermocouple assemblies (mainly manganese and aluminium from the KN wire through the magnesium oxide insulant to the KP wire). Transmutation is virtually eliminated since the conductors contain only traces of manganese and aluminium.

Finally, since manganese, aluminium and copper are not used in the NN conductor, stability against nuclear bombardment is much better.

Standardised in 1986 as BS EN 60584-1 Part 8 and subsequently published in IEC 60584, this relative newcomer to thermocouple thermometry has even been said to make all other base metal thermocouples (E, J, K and T) obsolete.

Another claim by the more enthusiastic manufacturers and distributors is that it provides many of the rare metal thermocouple characteristics, but at base metal costs. In fact, up to a maximum continuous temperature of 1,280°C, depending on service conditions, it can be used in place of Type R and S thermocouples (which are between 10 and 20 times the price).

Although adoption of this sensor was slower than many anticipated, it is seeing ever greater use and this can only grow. There is now no doubt that it is indeed a fundamentally better thermocouple than its base metal rivals.

Designs for Type N Thermocouples

Mineral Insulated thermocouples are rugged sensors which can generally be bent, twistened or flattened to suit application requirements. The Type N conductors are insulated from one another and the sheath by very tightly compacted magnesium oxide powder. With an insulated junction, the insulation resistance between the conductors and sheath is in excess of 100 MΩ.

Swaged tip, reduced tip thermocouples provide a unique fast response. The reduced end also provides high strength, and low displacement, which can be the solution to an otherwise difficult temperature measurement application. The reduced tip sensors have the advantage of having a rugged large diameter sheath over most of the length and a low thermal mass, fast response reduced tip. Homogeneity and integrity are maintained in the transition from the sensing area to larger cable diameter.

Miniature Thermocouples down to 0.010" satisfy many demanding precision temperature measurement applications due to the response, size, displacement and robustness of these miniature assemblies.

Type N - Technical Data

Conductor Combination Approximate generated
EMF change in µV
per ºC change
(referenced to 0ºC) at:
Approximate Working
Temperature Range
Initial Calibration Tolerances to ASTM E-230
(whichever is greater)
Thermocouple Output Tolerances
to IEC 60584-1
+ Leg - Leg 100ºC 500ºC 1000ºC ºF ºC Standard Special Type Class 1 Class 2 Class 3
Also known as: Nicrosil
Also known as: Nisil
30 38 39 32 to 2300 0 to 1260 ±2.2 or ±0.75% ±1.1 or ±0.4% Temperature Range
Tolerance Value
Temperature Range
Tolerance Value
–40°C to +375°C
375°C to 1000°C
±0.004⋅ |t|
–40°C to +333°C
333°C to 1200°C
±0.0075⋅ |t|
–167°C to +40°C
–200°C to –167°C
±0.015⋅ |t|
1. The tolerance is expressed either as a deviation in degrees Celsius or as a function of the actual temperature.
2. Thermocouple materials are normally supplied to meet the tolerances specified in the table for temperatures above –40 deg C. These materials however, may not fall within the tolerances for low temperatures given under Class 3 for Types T, E and K thermocouples. If thermocouples are required to meet limits of Class 3, as well as those of Class 1 and/or Class 2, the purchaser should state this, as selection of materials is usually required.

Thermocouple Wire Color Codes for N Type Thermocouples

ANSI MC96.1 United StatesInternational Color Code
to IEC 60584-3
Redundant national colors
Thermocouple Grade Extension Grade BS 1843 DIN 43714
ANSI MC96.1 Type N ThermocoupleANSI MC96.1 Type N ExtensionIEC60584-3 Type N ThermocoupleBS1843 Type N Thermocouple--

Please click here for all thermocouple wire color codes.

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