Static Characteristics of Measuring Instruments

About the static characteristics of measuring instruments

If we have a thermometer in a room and its reading shows a temperature of 20C, then it does not really matter whether the true temperature of the room is 19.5C or 20.5C. Such small variations around 20C are too small to affect whether we feel warm enough or not. Our bodies cannot discriminate between such close levels of temperature and therefore a thermometer with an accuracy of 0.5 C is perfectly adequate. If we had to measure the temperature of certain chemical processes, however, a variation of 0.5C might have a significant effect on the rate of reaction or even the products of a process. A measurement accuracy much better than 0.5C is therefore clearly required.

Accuracy of measurement is thus one consideration in the choice of instrument for a particular application. Other parameters such as sensitivity, linearity and the reaction to ambient temperature changes are further considerations. These attributes are collectively known as the static characteristics of instruments, and are given in the data sheet for a particular instrument. It is important to note that the values quoted for instrument characteristics in such a data sheet only apply when the instrument is used under specified standard calibration conditions. Due allowance must be made for variations in the characteristics when the instrument is used under other conditions.

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