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Types of Measuring Instruments

10/8/2012 12:53:46 PM | by Anonymous

Measuring Instruments

The activity of obtaining and comparing physical quantities is referred to as measurement. Measurement can be done from almost any physical activity or material. There are several different types of measurements that can be taken and several different measuring instruments exist to be used for taking measurement. Measurement is done in physical sciences, quality assurance and engineering work, to attain numerical values which can later be used in various activities for several different purposes such as comparing or evaluating. Units that are used for measuring are amongst the earliest tools that were invented by humans. Societies in the past required some sort of measurement tools which could be used for several tasks such as constructing etc, and an example of such units which are still being used today can be feet which measures length.

To understand measuring instruments, one must first understand what units are. As mentioned earlier, units are values given to measurements that make them usable across the world. Today, the world uses standard units such as centimeters, meters or kilometers (in the context of measuring distance) or others for the various types of measurements. Several types of measuring instruments are available for measurement, such as ruler and stop watches that measure length and time respectively, to more complex devices such as electron microscopes and particle accelerators.

One key measurement that is often carried out is determining the distance and length. There are several different types of taking the distance and length measurement tools available in the market today. However, what measurement tool a person chooses would depend on the distance he intends to measure. As distance can be measured in inches, feet, miles centimeters, meters kilometers etc, one should first determine which of these units he requires before selecting the right measurement tool. If measurements are on a small scale, for example the length of a photo frame, a regular ruler could do the job. However if measurements are on a bigger scale, for example measuring the width of a room, measuring tape instead of a ruler is more ideal as the former can be more convenient to use and can provide accurate results. Odometers are instruments that are used for measuring great distances that cannot be measured using measuring tapes such as miles.

Measuring the weight of an object or item refers to the mass of the item, which remains constant no matter where the person is located. Similar to distance measurement tools, the mass can be measured using several types of scales that cater to the size of the object. Scientists in laboratories often have to measure small amounts of mass, and thus use a triple-balance beam which can measure small masses very accurately. As technology advances, more advanced scales have been developed. Previously, measuring mass was done through scales such as balance pan scales or spring scales, from which the reading had to be noted manually. Today, digital scales are used in most parts of the world. These scales simply require the user to place the object on a pan attached to them and a digital reading can be read off the screen.

Volume measurement is another key measurement taken for a variety of process, be it in the laboratory or the manufacture of beverages. There are several different measurement instruments that can be used to measure volume. Units used to measure volume include milliliters, liters, gallons etc, with instruments such as cups, cylinders or pipets being used to take these measurements. These instruments usually come with markings on them so that measurements can be taken.

Measurements of temperature can be done in two units, Fahrenheit or degrees Celsius. Measuring instruments used to measure temperatures usually take measurements in either of these two units, or sometimes both. The primary device used worldwide for measuring temperatures is the thermometer, although temperature sensors are sometimes used today.

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