Calibration, Instrument calibration

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Summary

Calibration is a comparison between measurements – one of known magnitude or correctness made or set with one device and another measurement made in as similar a way as possible with a second device.

Details

Calibration may be called for:

  • a new instrument
  • after an instrument has been repaired or modified
  • when a specified time period has elapsed
  • when a specified usage (operating hours) has elapsed
  • before and/or after a critical measurement
  • after an event, for example
    • after an instrument has had a shock, vibration, or has been exposed to an adverse condition which potentially may have put it out of calibration or damage it
    • sudden changes in weather
  • whenever observations appear questionable or instrument indications do not match the output of surrogate instruments
  • as specified by a requirement, e.g., customer specification, instrument manufacturer recommendation.

In general use, calibration is often regarded as including the process of adjusting the output or indication on a measurement instrument to agree with value of the applied standard, within a specified accuracy. For example, a thermometer could be calibrated so the error of indication or the correction is determined, and adjusted (e.g. via calibration constants) so that it shows the true temperature in Celsius at specific points on the scale. This is the perception of the instrument's end-user. However, very few instruments can be adjusted to exactly match the standards they are compared to. For the vast majority of calibrations, the calibration process is actually the comparison of an unknown to a known and recording the results.

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External Links

  • WikipediaMaster Calibrators Association - Industry Experts on Electrical Calibration, Adjustment and MetrologyElectrical Calibration VideoVideo which explains the relationship between Calibration - Traceability - Accreditation with flow measuring devices

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