Constantan is a copper-nickel alloy usually consisting of 55% copper and 45% nickel.[1] Also known as Eureka. Its main feature is its resistivity which is constant over a wide range of temperatures. Other alloys with similarly low temperature coefficients are known, such as manganin (Cu86Mn12Ni2).



In 1887 Edward Weston discovered that metals can have a negative temperature coefficient of resistance, inventing what he called his "Alloy No. 2." It was produced in Germany where it was renamed "constantan".[2][3]

Constantan alloy

Of all modern strain gauge alloys, constantan is the oldest, and still the most widely used. This situation reflects the fact that constantan has the best overall combination of properties needed for many strain gauge applications. This alloy has, for example, an adequately high strain sensitivity, or gauge factor, which is relatively insensitive to strain level and temperature. Its resistivity is high enough to achieve suitable resistance values in even very small grids, and its temperature coefficient of resistance is not excessive. In addition, constantan is characterized by good fatigue life and relatively high elongation capability. It must be noted, however, that constantan tends to exhibit a continuous drift at temperatures above 65 °C (150 °F); and this characteristic should be taken into account when zero stability of the strain gauge is critical over a period of hours or days. Constantan is also used for electrical resistivity heating.


Very importantly, constantan can be processed for self-temperature compensation to match a wide range of test material coefficients of thermal expansion. An alloy is supplied in self-temperature-compensation (S-T-C) numbers 00, 03, 05, 06, 09, 13, 15, 18, 30, 40 and 50, for use on test materials with corresponding thermal expansion coefficients, expressed in parts per million by length (or µm/m) per kelvin or degree Celsius or degree Fahrenheit.

P alloy

For the measurement of very large strains, 5% (50 000 microstrain) or above, annealed constantan (P alloy) is the grid material normally selected. Constantan in this form is very ductile; and, in gauge lengths of 0.125 in (3 mm) and longer, can be strained to >20%. It should be borne in mind, however, that under high cyclic strains the P alloy will exhibit some permanent resistivity change with each cycle, and cause a corresponding zero shift in the strain gauge. Because of this characteristic, and the tendency for premature grid failure with repeated straining, P alloy is not ordinarily recommended for cyclic strain applications. P alloy is available with S-T-C numbers of 08 and 40 for use on metals and plastics, respectively.

Physical properties

Electrical resistivity at room temperature[1] 500 nΩ·m
Temperature coefficient at 20 °C[4] 8 ppm/K-1
Temperature coefficient -55 to 105 °C[1] ±40 ppm/K-1
Density[1] 8.9 × 103 kg/m³
Melting point 1221 to 1300 °C
Specific heat capacity 0.39 J/(g·K)
Thermal conductivity at 23°C 19.5 W/(m.K)
Linear coefficient of thermal expansion at 25-105°C[1] 14.9 × 10-6 K-1
Tensile strength[1] 455-860 MPa
Elongation at fracture <45%
Elastic modulus 162 GPa

Temperature Measurement

Constantan is also used to form thermocouples with wires made of iron, copper, or chromel.


  1. ^ a b c d e f Davis, p.158.
  2. ^ A chronological history of electrical development from 600 B.C., p.59, National Electrical Manufacturers Association, 1946.
  3. ^ David Oakes Woodbury A measure for greatness: a short biography of Edward Weston, p.168, McGraw-Hill, 1949.
  4. ^ John O'Malley, Schaum's outline of theory and problems of basic circuit analysis, p.19, McGraw-Hill Professional, 1992 ISBN 0070478244


  • Joseph R. Davis, Copper and copper alloys, ASM International, 2001 ISBN 0871707268.

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Нужен реферат?

Look at other dictionaries:

  • constantan — CONSTANTÁN s.n. Aliaj de cupru şi de nichel, cu coeficient de dilatare mic şi rezistenţă specifică mare, întrebuinţat la confecţionarea rezistenţelor electrice, a reostatelor, a termoelementelor etc. – Din fr. constantan. Trimis de LauraGellner,… …   Dicționar Român

  • CONSTANTAN — CONSTANTA Alliage de cuivre et de nickel caractérisé par une résistance électrique pratiquement indépendante de la température, et convenant donc à la construction de résistances électriques. Le cuivre et le nickel étant deux métaux parfaitement… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • constantan — n. a copper nickel alloy composed of approximately 55 per cent copper and 45 per cent nickel, with high electrical resistance and a low temperature coefficient; it is used as resistance wire and in thermocouples. Note: It has a resistance factor… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Constantan — Constantan. См. Константам. (Источник: «Металлы и сплавы. Справочник.» Под редакцией Ю.П. Солнцева; НПО Профессионал , НПО Мир и семья ; Санкт Петербург, 2003 г.) …   Словарь металлургических терминов

  • constantan — s. m. Liga de cobre e níquel (em geral 40 %), cuja resistência elétrica é praticamente independente da temperatura …   Dicionário da Língua Portuguesa

  • constantan — [kän′stən tan΄] n. [so named because of its CONSTANT temperature coefficient of resistance] an alloy of copper (c. 55%) and nickel ( c. 45%), used in pyrometers and thermocouples …   English World dictionary

  • Constantan — Le constantan est un alliage métallique constitué de cuivre et de nickel. Sa masse volumique est de 8,91 3. Sa résistivité est quasiment indépendante de la température. Cette caractéristique n existe que pour une proportion très précise des… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • constantan — konstantanas statusas T sritis fizika atitikmenys: angl. constantan vok. Konstantan, n rus. константан, m pranc. constantan, m …   Fizikos terminų žodynas

  • Constantán — El constantán es una aleación, generalmente formada por un 55% de cobre y un 45% de níquel (Cu55Ni45). Se caracteriza por tener una resistencia eléctrica constante en un amplio rango de temperaturas, es uno de los materiales más utilizados para… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Constantán — ► sustantivo masculino METALURGIA Aleación de cobre y níquel. * * * El constantán es una aleación, generalmente formada por un 55 e cobre y un 45 e níquel (Cu55Ni45). Se caracteriza por tener una resistencia eléctrica constante en un amplio rango …   Enciclopedia Universal

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”