The Digital Thermometer: A Mercury Replacement Three Centuries in the Making

The Digital ThermometerMercury thermometers have been falling out of favour for some time now, for more reasons than their having mercury.

While Gabriel Fahrenheit did succeed in inventing a reliable tool for measuring temperature, his creation of glass and quicksilver was from safe — an aspect simply incompatible with the safety standards of measurement-reliant fields such as science and medicine. Fortunately, modern developments have prompted thermometers to go digital along with countless other things, and the world is better for it for the following reasons:

  1. Digital thermometers are accurate.

Instead of merely measuring the surface it is in contact with, a digital thermometer is able to detect a person’s internal temperature. Not to render mercury thermometer readings from the past centuries less significant, as they have surely helped medicine and saved countless lives, but it turns out that liquid metal in a glass tube is not nearly as accurate as solid metal in a plastic case.

  1. Digital thermometers are fast.

Gone are the days of shaking the thermometer to calibrate its measurements. Professionals from GH Zeal Ltd note that with digital thermometers, physicians can have results within seconds, as they eliminate the need for prolonged thermometer exposure.

  1. Digital thermometers are universal.

There is no single standard for measurements, and that cannot be truer for temperatures. With Celsius, Fahrenheit, and Kelvin having their own merits and followers, using the wrong type of mercury thermometer can be frustratingly uninformative. Fortunately, you can shift between the three units with a push of a button.

  1. Digital thermometers are safe.

Perhaps the most significant improvement digital thermometers have over the mercury variant is the removal of mercury itself. Since conventional thermometers run the risk of causing mercury poisoning upon breaking, digital thermometers are the undeniably safer alternative across their creation, usage and disposal.

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The time when mercury thermometers are finally obsolete may not be too far off. Digital thermometers are indeed the safer, faster and more accurate replacement for a tool that has existed for more than three centuries.