28The air gap acts as a thermal resistance while the mass of the element itself acts as a thermal capacitance. Thus, the inclusion of an air gap forms a thermal “RC time constant” delay network secondary to the thermal delay incurred by the thermowell. This adds another “order” of lag to the system, not just an increase in its thermal time constant. Generally speaking, multiple orders of lag are detrimental to process control because they increase phase shift in a feedback loop and may lead to oscillation.