Providing critical measurements of mass, force, vibration, and acoustics for a broad range of industries and aspects of everyday life. Such measurements establish uniformity and reliability for countless products and applications, such as grocery store scales, microphones, pharmaceuticals, and the structural integrity of bridges. The program’s wide-ranging goals include participating in international efforts to redefine the Kilogram, establishing new molecular force standards, improving timeliness and performance of current calibration services, and developing next-generation measurements for acoustics and vibration. Such services help provide industry with the tools needed to maintain or establish the highest levels of competitiveness in world markets.
NIST has a long history as the nation’s standards keeper for measurements of mass, force, vibration, and other quantities. Precision and accuracy in these measurements are critical for fair and equitable trade, public safety, and innovations in manufacturing across a dramatic range of industrial needs, from pharmaceutical recipes to airplane building, from improved hearing aids to ensuring accurate grocery store scales. But the changing demands imposed by the complexity of new products, as well as the new global economy, require NIST to develop creative approaches to improve its services and develop new ones.
Program technical activities are categorized in three areas that have been defined through discussions with its industrial partners: research and development of measurement techniques to anticipate future needs in measuring mass, acoustics, force, and vibration; provision and continuous improvements of high-quality measurement services; and participation in international activities to facilitate trade through the mutual recognition and acceptance of measurement capabilities and calibration certificates across borders.
The research and development activities include development of the first small force standards based on atomic and molecular interactions; new low-frequency vibration metrology in response to growing industry needs in manufacturing, nuclear power, vehicle ride control, and whole-body vibration control; and new infrasound metrology and standards to address demanding requirements for atmospheric monitoring, scientific studies of the Earth and its environment, and weapons regulatory control. In addition, the program will develop new realization and dissemination methods necessary for NIST to support the proposed redefinition of the Kilogram – the last remaining SI unit defined by an artifact.
The program’s second focus, measurement services activities, include implementing automated and next-generation measurement tools, including mass calibration robots. These efforts will also introduce next-generation calibrations for speakers and microphones, which are needed to establish legal noise standards in the workplace and around air fields, to improve the silence of defense systems, such as submarines, and for a long-standing collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs on improving the performance of hearing aids.
Lastly, NIST represents and defends U.S. interests in international standards development and participates in international comparisons to evaluate NIST measurement capabilities and compare them to other countries in order to eliminate trade barriers in the world markets. Only through global agreement on such standards can country-to-country compatibility be guaranteed for a wide range of products.
1 kg mass standards made of stainless steel and silicon being calibrated.
Start Date:February 1, 2008
Lead Organizational Unit:pml
Dr. Zeina J. Kubarych, Program Manager
Related Programs and Projects:
Physical Measurement Laboratory (PML)