- noun a device that responds to temperature change by activating a mechanism, used for controlling the temperature of a space or process
- A switch that is automatically actuated when a temperature deviates by a specified amount from a target value or interval. A thermostat serves to open or close a circuit which controls a heating and/or cooling mechanism, so as to maintain a temperature within the desired limits. A thermostat often incorporates a bimetallic element which bends in a given direction to turn the circuit on and off, and must have the proper amount of hysteresis to prevent constant switching between cycles or too large a temperature interval between cycles Used, for instance, in heating, cooling, or refrigerating systems, or for overtemperature protection. Also called thermostatic switch.
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