Measurement Basics

Determining industrial measurement devices and units of measurement

Measurement equipment can help you mark a wide range of items for your business. The Department of Transportation might use a measuring wheel to place mile markers on a new highway. Architects use large measuring tape to make sure building specifications match the design. Food product manufacturers need to use items like graduated cylinders to make sure the right amount of liquid is in their product containers.

Regardless of what you need to measure, a general understanding of measurement basics is necessary in order to obtain accurate results. Inaccuracies can result in more production time and a loss of profit in the end. Consider the following information as you seek out the right tools for your measurement needs:

1. There are a variety of units of industrial measurement, depending on whether you’re measuring solids, liquids or gases.

2. Measurement instruments for liquids include graduated cylinders.

3. You can tackle long distances with measuring products like measuring wheels.

Decide upon a unit and type of measurement

You can measure anything you can think of, including solids, liquids and gases. However, each item you measure requires a different unit of measurement. Typically, you measure solids by length, width and height, by measuring in centimeters, inches, feet or yards. You measure the volume of liquid within a container by pints, quarts, liters, gallons or cubic inches. Ounces, pounds and tons are the units of measurement for weight. Each unit of measure has a specific abbreviation and, when it reaches a certain amount, becomes the next unit of measure. For example, 12 inches is one foot, four quarts is one gallon and 16 ounces is one pound.
National Institute of Standards and Technology offers General Tables of Units of Measurement for further information. For an exhaustive dictionary of measurements, including the International System of Units, the metric system and English traditional systems, visit the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Find measurement devices for measuring gases and liquids

The measurement of liquid is typically in volume, specified by liters. A graduated cylinder is the most precise means of measuring the volume of a liquid. They range in size but typically measure by milliliters. Of course, more common measuring instruments for liquids that a business such as a bakery might use include measuring cups and spoons. Alternatively, you measure gas pressure by using a barometer, manometer or aneroid (mechanical) gauge.
Clackamus Community College in Oregon offers an explanation of measuring volume and how a graduated cylinder works. Wisc-Online, a web-based learning resource center, offers a presentation of gas pressure measurement.

Discover measurement tools that find length

There are various measuring devices for finding the length, width or height of a solid object. The more obvious tools include rulers, yardsticks and tape measures. For long distances, many industries, such as construction, use a measuring wheel. Measuring wheels, which range in size depending on the terrain you use them for, have both mechanical and electronic counters that tally the distance for you.
Engineer Supply explains the uses of measuring wheels and offers a variety of styles to fit your needs. Easy Surf provides a U.S. metric measurement conversion guide.
  • Meteorologists use barometers to obtain a measurement of air pressure, giving them a reading of current weather conditions. The construction of barometers is an empty glass tube, devoid of any air or gas, placed on a disk of mercury. The air pressure in the environment forces the mercury up the barometer providing a reading.

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