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A bi-metallic strip is used to convert a temperature change into mechanical displacement. The strip consists of two strips of different metals which expand at different rates as they are heated, usually steel and copper. The strips are joined together throughout their length by rivets, by brazing or by welding. The different expansions force the flat strip to bend one way if heated, and in the opposite direction if cooled below its normal temperature. The metal with the higher expansion is on the outer side of the curve when the strip is heated and on the inner side when cooled.
The sideways displacement of the strip is much larger than the ling ways expansion in either of the two metals. This effect is used in a range of mechanical and electrical devices. In some applications the bi-metal strip is used in the flat form. In others, it is wrapped into a coil for compactness. The greater length of the coiled version gives improved sensitivity.