Temperature monitoring probes used in laboratory, pharmacy and blood bank refrigerators are commonly inserted into thermal buffers so reported temperatures reflect the temperature of stored products. Without using a thermal buffer, probes simply measure air temperature and are more susceptible to the effects of door openings. The use of appropriate thermal buffers can help avoid unnecessary nuisance alarms that could be generated if only air temperature were measured.
Traditional thermal buffers use high-viscosity liquids like glycerin or propylene glycol to simulate the thermal mass of stored products. While they do provide the intended thermal buffering benefits, they require setup and ongoing maintenance to ensure proper performance, as liquids can evaporate or leak over time and leave the probes unbuffered.