Is Temperature REALLY Important During Calibration?

by Garber Metrology

set of 4 thermometersIt’s all too easy to take for granted just how important scales are in our daily lives. They work to keep the roads safe, they make sure we get a fair shake at the supermarket when buying our favorite fruits and veggies, and they even help to make sure that our medications are exactly as they should be. Because of this, it’s important that scales are regularly calibrated so they give an accurate representation of the objects they are weighing. Because of this, calibration needs to be done very carefully as there are a number of variables can affect calibration. If calibration is done incorrectly, a scale can give a false weight, either too much or too little which can affect the performance of the scale until the next calibration. Some scales are so sensitive that the weight of a human hair can affect the balance. But what about temperature? Can temperature really affect the outcome of a calibration? In a word, yes. Maintaining an even temperature is crucial during calibration and here’s why.

The Goldilocks Zone

Remember the story of Goldilocks? Everything had to be just right, not too hot and not too cold. Well, calibration works very similarly. The issue is that metal doesn’t exist at a set volume or size, but can swell or shrink due to the temperatures it’s subjected to. Looking at it on an atomic level, all of the atoms that make matter (those not subjected to absolute zero) are in a constant state of motion. As the metal heats up, the atoms become more active, buzzing and vibrating faster. This atomic buzz means the atoms are occupying a broader space, which in turn causes the metal to expand. Conversely, metal contracts when it becomes cold due to the atoms slowing down and vibrating less violently. This expansion and contraction can make a huge difference in accuracy when it comes to calibration of scales and other devices. So sensitive is the nature of some scales and transducers that a difference of 2 degrees in either direction can affect the balance.

The Practice of Metrology

Many different businesses rely on having an accurate ability to measure and weigh. Some businesses perform numerous stress tests to ensure that a product will be safe and functional in even the toughest conditions. Because of this, Garber Metrology has been in the business of calibrating scales, transducers, and other measurement devices ensuring accuracy and peace of mind for companies all throughout the Mid Atlantic region for close to 40 years. If you need accuracy, Garber handles sales, service, installations, and even regular calibrations for all things measured.

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