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Introduction to metrology 2017

Metrology is that branch of engineering which deals with measurements and inspection, metrology
means the science of pure measurements It involves the measurement standards, design and use of
measuring devices/equipments, and application of measurement in various engineering fields.
Measurement involves all types of information that can be quantified in terms of some basic or derived
units of measurements like length, angle, time, weight, pressure, temperature, density, etc.

Measurement is that part of metrology which helps in measuring the required quantity. For example, to
measure the length we require an instrument, called rule. Likewise to measure different quantities we
require different kinds of instruments, which will be able to translate the measured quantities into a
sensible output.

Meaning of Metrology: Metrology means the pure science of measurements. But for engineering
purposes, it is restricted to measurement of length and angles and other quantities which are expressed in
linear or angular terms. Metrology is mainly concerned with establishing the units of measurements,
reproducing these units in the form of standards and ensuring the uniformity of measurements,
developing method of measurements, analyzing the accuracy of methods of measurements and
researching into the causes of measuring errors and eliminating these. Metrology is not limited to length
and angular measurement but is also concerned with the industrial inspection and its various techniques.
Inspection is carried out with gauges and the metrologist is intimately concerned with the design,
manufacturing and testing of gauges.

Legal metrology: Legal metrology is that part of metrology which treats units of measurements,
methods of measurements and the measuring instruments, in relation to the technical and legal
requirements that is testing, verification, standardization of measuring instruments, testing of
prototypes/models of measuring instruments and examination of a measuring instrument to verify its
conformity to the statutory requirements etc.

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Dynamic metrology: It is the technique of measuring small variations of a continuous nature. The
technique has proved very valuable, and a record of continuous measurement, over a surface, for
instance, has obvious advantages over individual measurements of an isolated character.

Deterministic metrology: Deterministic metrology is a new philosophy in which part measurement is

replaced by process measurement. The new techniques such as 3D error compensation by CNC systems
and expert systems are applied, leading to fully adaptive control. This technology is used for very high
precision manufacturing machinery and control systems to achieve microtechnology and
nanotechnology accuracies.

Objectives of Metrology
1. Complete evaluation of newly developed products.
2. Determination of the process capabilities and ensure that these are better than the relevant
component tolerances.
3. Determination of the measuring instrument capabilities and ensure that they are quiet sufficient
for their respective measurements.
4. Minimizing the cost of inspection by effective and efficient use of available facilities.
5. Reducing the cost of rejects and rework through application of statistical quality control
6. To standardize the measuring methods.
7. To maintain the accuracies of measurement.
8. To prepare designs for all gauges and special inspection fixtures.

Necessity and importance of Metrology

This is essential for solving almost all technical problems in the field of engineering in general, and in
production engineering and experimental designs in particular. The design engineering should not only
check his design from the point of view of strength or economical production, but he should also keep in
mind how the dimensions specified can be checked or measured. Unfortunately, a considerable amount

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engineering work is still being executed without realizing the importance of inspection and quality
control for improving the function of product and achieving the economical production. Higher
productivity cannot be achieved unless the science of metrology is understood, introduced and applied in
industries. Improving the quality of production necessitates proportional improvement of the measuring
accuracy, and marking out of components before machining and the in-process and post process control
of the dimensional and geometrical accuracy of the product. Proper gauges should be designed and used
for rapid and effective inspection. Also automation and automatic control, which are the modern trends
for future developments, are based on measurement. Means for automatic gauging as well as for position
and displacement measurement with feedback control have to be provided.

Need of inspection: To determine the fitness for the purpose of anything manufactured inspection is
needed. Inspection accelerates the mass production which involved interchangeability of parts.
Inspection prevents the rejection of the components and also controls process in order to obtain desired
quality as required. The components manufactured in modern engineering are produced to close
dimensional tolerance, however the components themselves are subjected to precision checks. It is
therefore essential that accuracy required should be built into the machine tools, jigs and fixtures which
produce them. Precision measurement must be carried out on both the dies and punches of the press
tools used, and provided the dimensions are within the limits laid down the press tool can be put into
production with every confidence in the acceptability of the parts produced.

Quality Control: Quality control enables an inspector to sample the parts being produced in a
mathematical manner and to determine whether or not the entire stream of production is acceptable
defectives is usually taken as 3 out of 1000 parts produced.
The following steps must be taken while using quality control techniques:
1) Sample the stream of products.
2) Measured the desired dimensions in the sample.
3) Calculate the deviations of the dimensions from the mean dimension.
4) Construct a control chart.
5) Plot succeeding data on the control chart.

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Principle of Measurement: The principle of the measurement is evaluating magnitude of unknown by

comparing with that of known predetermined standard. Six guiding principles of Measurement:

Making right measurements.

Use the right measuring instruments.
Right people for a given measurements.
Carrying out regular reviews.
Demonstrate the consistency in measurement.
Follow right procedures.

Methods of measurement: measurements can be carried out by three distinct methods, that is:
Direct method: in this method the result is obtained by comparing the unknown with the
predetermined known standard. Direct method involves no mathematical calculations to arrive at
the results, for example, measurement of length by a graduated scale.
Indirect Method: Method of obtained by measuring directly and then the measurements are
determined using mathematical equations. For example, measurement of density by measuring
mass and geometrical dimensions.
Fundamental method: it is also known as absolute method of measurement which is dependent
on the measurement of the base quantities. For example, measuring a quantity directly in
accordance with the definition of that quantity, or measuring a quantity indirectly by direct
measurement of the quantities linked with the definition of the quantity to be measured.

Measuring instruments: A measuring instrument is a device used for measuring a physical quantity. In
the physical sciences, quality assurance, and engineering, measurement is the activity of obtaining and
comparing physical quantities of real-world objects and events.

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Basic classification of measuring instruments:

Mechanical instruments:- They are very reliable for static and stable conditions. The disadvantage is
that some applications they are unable to respond rapidly to measurement of dynamic and transient
Electrical instruments:- Electrical methods of indicating the output of detectors are more rapid than
mechanical methods. However, the electrical system normally depends upon a mechanical meter
movement as indicating device.
Electronic instruments:- These instruments have very fast response. For example a cathode ray
oscilloscope (CRO) is capable to follow dynamic and transient changes of the order of few nano seconds
(10-9 sec).

Other classification of instruments:-

Absolute instruments or Primary Instruments:- These instruments gives the magnitude of quantity
under measurement in terms of physical constants of the instrument e.g. Tangent Galvanometer. These
instruments do not require comparison with any other standard instrument

Secondary instruments:-These instruments are so constructed that the quantity being measured can
only be determined by the output indicated by the instrument. These instruments are calibrated by
comparison with an absolute instrument or another secondary instrument, which has already been
calibrated against an absolute instrument.

Classification of Secondary Instruments:

(a) Classification based on the various effects of electric current (or voltage) upon which their
operation depend.

(b) Classification based on the Nature of their Operations

(c) Classification based on the Kind of Current that can be Measurand.

(d) Classification based on the method used.

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Direct measuring instruments: These instruments converts the energy of the measured quantity
directly into energy that actuates the instrument and the value of the unknown quantity is measured or
displayed or recorded directly. These instruments are most widely used in engineering practice because
they are simple and inexpensive. Also, time involved in the measurement is shortest. Comparison
instruments: These instruments measure the unknown quantity by comparison with a standard. They are
used when a higher accuracy of measurements is desired.

Accuracy: Accuracy refers to the closeness of a measured value to a known standard value. For
example, if in lab you obtain a weight measurement of 24.00 grams for gold, against the actual or known
weight of 24.00 grams, then your measurement is accurate.

Precision: The precision of a measurement process or instrument indicates its ability to reproduce a
certain reading with a given accuracy.

Repeatability: Repeatability is defined as the ability of a measuring system to reproduce output

readings when the same input data is used consecutively, under the same conditions, and direction.

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Errors in measurement: the difference between basic size and the actual size or the difference between
the known standard and the dimension measured is known as error. Error in the measurement of a
physical quantity is its deviation from actual value.

Classification of errors: Errors will creep into all measurement regardless of the care which is exerted.
But it is important for the person performing the experiment to take proper care so that the error can be
minimized. Some of the errors are of random in nature, some will be due to gross blunder on the part of
the experimenter and other will be due to the unknown reasons which are constant in nature. Thus, we
see that there are different sources of errors and generally errors are classified mainly into three
categories as follows:
o Gross errors
o Systematic errors
o Random errors
Gross Errors: These errors are due to the gross blunder on the part of the experimenters or observers.
These errors are caused by mistake in using instruments, recording data and calculating measurement
results. Errors may be made in calculating the final results. A grass error arises when an experimenter
makes use of a poor sensitivity measuring instruments.

Systematic Errors: These are inherent errors of apparatus or method. These errors always give a
constant deviation.

Random Errors: After corrections have been applied for all the parameters whose influences are
known, there is left a residue of deviation. These are random error and their magnitudes are not constant.
Persons performing the experiment have no control over the origin of these errors. These errors are due
to so many reasons such as noise and fatigue in the working persons. These errors may be either positive
or negative.

Role of standard: A standard is defined as Something that is set up and established by an authority as
a rule for the measure of quantity, weight, extent, value or quality. The role of standards is to obtain
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uniform, consistent and repeatable measurements and to support the systems and enable such
measurements possible throughout the world.

Standards of Measurements
Standard is the basic unit with which a measured quantity is compared. The fundamental units of
measurements are length, mass and time. For all these, there has to be an established standard with
which other measured quantities can be compared. Internationally accepted standards have been
followed to make measurements, based on the established standards.

Material standard: In metrology, a standard is an object, system, or experiment that bears a defined
relationship to a unit of measurement of a physical quantity. Standards are the fundamental reference for
a system of weights and measures, against which all other measuring devices are compared.

Disadvantages of material standards:

A material length standard varies in length over years.
Exact replica may not be available every time and place.
Material standard if damaged very difficult to prepare copy.
Conversion factor is required if system of measurement changed.

Light wave standard: Because of the disadvantages of the material standards, the possibility of using
wave length standard as the primary standards has been considered.

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Since the wave length standard is not physical one it need not be preserved and it is easily reproduced.
The eleventh conference of weights and measure held in paris in 1960 defined the metre as equal to
1650 763.73 wave lengths of the orange radiation of krypton-86 isotope in vacuum maintained at 68K.
The yard is defined as 1509 458.35 wave lengths of the orange radiation of krypton-86 isotope in
vacuum. The yard is also defined as 0.9144 metre. The substance krypton 86 is used because it produces
sharply defined interference lines and its wave length was the almost uniform known at that time.

Advantages of wave length standard:

Length does not change.
Wave length standard can be reproduced easily.
Consistency is high.
Can be accessed easily in any physical laboratory.

Sub-division of standards
Depending upon the importance of accuracy required for the work, standards are subdivided into four
grades, that is:

Primary standards or Reference standards are such material standards. These are very basic
standards, which do not change their value and are preserved carefully. This cannot be used directly for
measurement. Based on these, additional standards are deviced and used further. These are used
periodically, say after every ten years, to compare with secondary standards.
Disadvantages of Material Standards
Primary standards are required to be preserved under highly controlled conditions, thus need careful
maintenance, which is expensive. They cannot be used for direct measurements, other than for
comparison with secondary standards.

Secondary Standard: These are the reproduced standards fully based on primary standards. They are
identical to the primary standards with respect to the design, material, size, etc. a number of units of

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secondary standards are produced and preserved for comparison of tertiary standards. Secondary
standards are periodically compared with primary standards for any errors.
Tertiary Standard: These are based on secondary standards and are regularly used in laboratories and
workshops for reference. These are compared with secondary standards periodically for any induced
error with time or working environment.
Working Standard: These are the standards used in day-to-day measurements in engineering fields.
They are similar to the other three standards, but are cheaper, less controlled and available for
everyones use.

Standards of length:
In engineering practice, we are primarily concerned with the measurement of length and angles for
most components. The basic principle associated with linear measurements is comparison with standard
dimensions engraved on an instrument.
The engineers rule is such an elementary instrument used for comparison. However, the engraving of
the divisions on the rule necessitates the use of another standard of comparison, which in turn is related
to the use of an absolute standard of linear measurements. The linear measurement made generally refers
to the length. The commonly adopted length standards are-
1. International prototype meter
2. Imperial standard yard
3. Wavelength standard

International Prototype Metre: It is defined as the straight line distance, at 0C between the engraved
lines of pure platinum-irridium (90%-10%) alloy of 1020mm length.

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The platinum-iridium alloy was used because it is non-oxidisable and retain good polished surface
which is required .The sectional shape as shown in figure gives greater rigidity for the amount the metal
involved and is therefore economic in the use of an expensive metal.

Imperial Standard yard: A yard was formerly known as the imperial standard Yard. It consist of a
bronze bar made from an alloy known as Bailys metal, consists of 82% copper, 13% tin and 5% zinc.
The bar is 1 sq. in. in cross-section has an overall length of 38. Two counter bored holes, diameter
by deep, at 36 centres provide sighting holes for two gold plugs inserted in the holes at the base of
each counter bore. The faces of the gold plugs are flush with bases of counter bores and, therefore, lie in
the neutral plane of the bar where bending effects are minimized when the bar is resting on supports.
These plugs are 0/01 in. diameter, and five lines are ruled on upper polished face.

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The length of the yard is defined as the distance between the two central transverse lines on the plugs
when the temperature of the bar is constant at 62F, and when the bar is supported on rollers, in a
specified manner, to prevent flexure.

Airy Points: For the both the standards described above, if the supporting conditions are such that there
is a slight curvature of the bars, it will introduce an error in the length.

To minimize these error two support points of a fixed span was suggested by Sir G.B. Airy. He
expressed distance between the supports by the relation,
Support distance, b = {a/n2-1}*L
a = total length of bars
b = distance between supports
n = number of supports
L= Length of bar

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Hence, when a length standard or any of its copies is being used for reference purpose, it is supported on
two rollers as shown above. Based on Airys formula, the support distances a for standard meter & yard,
respectively are-
For standard meter, b = 1000/3 = 589 mm
For standard yard, b = 38/3 = 21.93 inch

The distance between the rollers was proved by Airy to be equal to l/n2-1 where, n and l represent
number of rollers and length of bar respectively. This method of support was used for the purpose of
inter-comparisons until 1922 when two supports at the Airy points were introduced. When a bar is
supported specifically at two points symmetrically about its centre, a condition can be produced when
the bar deflects as its centre, but the effective error in the length of bar is negligible. Applying Airys
formula the specific distance the supports is equal to 0.577 L.

Metre: Metre is defined as the length of the path travelled by light in vacuum in 1/299792458 second.
This is achieved by using iodine stabilized helium-neon laser. The length of the metre is also defined as
at 0C between the centre portions of pure platinumiridium alloy (10% iridium) of 102 cm total length.
The graduations are on the upper surface of web which coincides with the neutral axis of the section.

Characteristics of line standards: The characteristics of line standard are given below:
1. Accurate engraving on the scales can be done but it is difficult to take full advantage of this
accuracy. For example, a steel rule can be read to about 0.2 mm of true dimension.
2. It is easier and quicker to use a scale over a wide range.
3. The scale markings are not subject to wear although significant wear on leading end leads to
4. There is no built in datum in a scale which would allow easy scale alignment with the axis of
measurement, this again leads to undersizing.
5. Scales are subjected to the parallax effect, a source of both positive and negative reading errors.
6. For close tolerance length measurement scales are not convenient to be used.

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End standard: When the length being measured is expressed as the distance between two parallel end
faces then it is called End-standard. End standards, in the form of the bars and slip gauges, are in general
use in precision engineering as well as in standard laboratories. Slip gauges are in everyday use in tool-
rooms, workshops, and inspection departments throughout the world are an example for end standard. A
modern end standard consists fundamentally of a block or bar of steel generally hardened whose end
faces are lapped flat and parallel to within a few millionth of a cm. by the process of lapping, its size too
can controlled very accurately. Although, from time to time, various types of end bar have been
constructed, some having flat and some spherical faces, the flat, parallel faced bar is firmly established
as the most practical method of end measurement.

Characteristics of end standards:

1. Highly accurate and well suited to close tolerance measurements.
2. Time-consuming in use.
3. Dimensional tolerance as small as 0.0005 mm can be obtained.
4. Subjected to wear on their faces.
5. To provide a given size, the groups of blocks are wrung together. Faulty wringing leads to
6. There is a built-in datum in end standards, because their measuring faces are flat and parallel
and can be positively located on a datum surface.
7. As their use depends on feel they are not subject to the parallax effect.

End bars. Primary end standards usually consist of bars of carbon steel about 20 mm in diameter and
made in sizes varying from 10 mm to 1200 mm. these are hardened at the ends only. They are used for
the measurement of work of large size.

Derivation of end standard from line standard:

Both the primary standards are line standards. But in engineering practice, we mostly require end
standards like slip gauges, anvils of micrometer, length bars, vernier caliper, etc. Thus, to produce these
end standards, it is necessary to derive it from the line standard comparator. The procedure for this
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transfer is explained briefly. The line standard comparator consists of two microscopes mounted one
yard apart on a table. An end standard, 35 length is produced with end faces flat and mutually
parallel. The two blocks are wrung and engraved on one side at the centre of the two end faces. Thus,
the distance between the centre lines are approximately equal to 36after wringing block to35
gauge end standard. The line standard and end standard along with end blocks are mounted on the table.
The microscope having accurate micrometer screw controlled eyepieces shows any small variations in
longitudinal direction, thus can be determined.

If the actual length of 35end standard is l, then the distance between the two lines on line standard
is 36 inches while the effect of wringing film is ignored. The other possible errors are the misplacing of
the line at the mid position of the end faces of blocks and possible error in the length of 35 end
standard. The two blocks are arranged as shown below:-

End bar size = 35

The difference of readings between the lines on line standard and the lines on end standard are
noted every time. If the differences are d1, d2, d3 and d4 respectively, then successive positions of the
blocks, we have
l + b + c=36+d1
l + b + d=36+d2
l + a + c=36+d3
l + a + d=36+d4
Taking mean , l+1/2(a+b+c+d)=36+d/4 ----------------------------( 1)

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In the above equation it may be noted that the error due to the possible misplacing of the lines
between the end faces of the blocks are eliminated.
Next 35 end standard wrung with one of the block is compared with 36 end bar (to be
calibrated) on a brookes level comparator and the deviation D1 as shown below:

Then the other block is wrung and again it is compared with 36 end bar (which is to be
calibrated) and the deviation D2 was noted.
If L is the actual length of 36 end bar, then

l + a + b = L + D1
l + c + d = L + D2

Taking the average

l+1/2(a+b+c+d)=L+D/2 ------------------------------------------( 2)

Combining equation 1 and equation 2

L=36+ d/4- D/2 --------------------------------------------------( 3 )

From equation 3 the length L of the end bar was obtained. Thus 36 end bar can be calibrated.
Numerical Problems: solved in class

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Slip gauges: Slip gauges are rectangular blocks of steel having a cross section of 30mm long and 10mm
wide, as shown in figure and most widely used end standard in engineering industry. These are made of
high-grade cast steel and are hardened throughout or cemented carbide which is extremely hard and
wear resistant material.

With the set of slip gauges, combination of slip gauge enables measurements to be made upto an
accuracy of 0.0005 depending on the set chosen. The slip gauges were invented by C.E. Johanson of
Sweden early in the present century. To reduce wear on slip gauges a pair of protector gauge blocks (1
or 1.5 or 2mm) are supplied and they are wrung at the end of slip gauge combination. In general
practice, for important works we use end standards of measurements. The distances between the ends
measure the actual dimension. These ends are hardened and highly polished to high accuracy, also the
faces are made flat and parallel. End standards, in the form of the bars and slip gauges, are in general use
in precision engineering as well as in standard laboratories such as the N.P.L. expect for applications
where microscopes can be used, scales are not generally convenient for the direct measurement of
engineering products, whereas slip gauges are in everyday use in tool-rooms, workshops, and inspection
departments throughout the world. A modern end standard consists fundamentally of a block or bar of
steel generally hardened whose end faces are lapped flat and parallel to within a few millionth of a cm.
by the process of lapping, its size too can controlled very accurately. Although, from time to time,

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various types of end bar have been constructed, some having flat and some spherical faces, the flat,
parallel faced bar is firmly established as the most practical method of end measurement.
Note. The accuracy of line and end standards is affected by temperature changes and both are originally
calibrated at 20 C. also care is taken in manufacture to ensure that change of shape with time is
reduced to negligible proportions.
Basic forms of Slip Gauges:

Following are the three basic forms of slip gauges.

a) Rectangular : This form is used because they are less expensive to manufacture and most
widely used type of slip gauges.
b) Square: These are used in certain applications due to their better adhering quality. The wear
resistance of square slip gauges are higher when compared to rectangular one.
c) Square with centre hole: These gauges are inserted on to the tie rods to ensure that the wrung
stocks do not fall apart while handling.

Major requirements for slip gauges

Slip gauges are used to provide end standards of specific length by combining several individual
slip gauges (each representing a standard dimension) into a single gauge bar. The success of
combination of slip gauges depends on formation of a bar of reasonable cohesion between individual
slip gauges and its actual dimension truly representing within specific limits, and the desired nominal
dimension. For achieving this, the individual slip gauges must be available in dimensions needed to
achieve any combination with minimum number of gauges. The accuracy with which the individual slip
gauges must be attached so closely to each other, such that the length of built-up combination is equal to
the added size of the individual slip gauges of the assembly. This is achieved by wringing the slip
gauges. Further the attachment of individual gauges must be firm enough to permit a reasonable
amountof handling as a single unit. And also it should be possible to detach all individual slip gauges so
that they are re-usable without any damage to their original size or other properties.

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Indian standard on slip gauges (IS; 2984-1966):

Set of gauges:
The recommended sets in the metric units are M112, M105, M87, M50, M33 and M27.
M 87 Slip gauge set
Range ( mm ) Steps ( mm) Pieces
1.001 to 1.009 0.001 9
1.01 to 1.49 0.01 49
0.5 to 9.5 0.5 19
10 to 90 10 9
1.0005 -- 1
Total 87

M 112 Slip gauge set

Range ( mm ) Steps ( mm) Pieces
1.001 to 1.009 0.001 9
1.01 to 1.49 0.01 49
0.5 to 24.5 0.5 49
25 to 100 25 4
1.0005 -- 1
Total 112

Slip gauges are graded according to their accuracy as Grade 0, Grade1 and Grade II. Grade II is
intended for use in workshops during the actual production of components, tools and gauges. Grade I is
of higher accuracy and used in inspection departments. Grade 0 is used in laboratories and standard
room which serves as standard for periodically checking the accuracy of Grade I and Grade II gauges.
Generally two sets of slip gauges are used namely; (i) Normal set and (ii) Special set are used. A normal
set consists of the following gauges.

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Wringing of slip gauges: The blocks are joined by a sliding process called wringing, which causes
their ultra-flat surfaces to cling together. A small number of gauge blocks can be used to create accurate
lengths within a wide range. If the surfaces are cleaned they will adhere strongly when slid carefully
together. The phenomenon of wringing is partly due to molecular adhesion between a liquid film and
mating flat surfaces and partly by atmospheric pressure. It has been found that the gap between the two
wrung flat pieces is approximately 6 nanometers, which has no effect on total length. The slip gauges to
be washed by petrol, benzene, carbon tetrachloride or other de-greasing agents and wiped dry on a clean
cloth before wringing. Then one gauge is placed at right angles to the other and slid one over the other
as shown in figure, while pressing them together, a rotary motion is applied until the gauge blocks are
lined up as shown below. Same procedure is followed to separate the wrung slip gauges that is combined
sliding and twisting motion.

The slip gauges were invented by C.E.Johanson of Sweden early in the present century. These are made
of high-grade cast steel and are hardened throughout. With the set of slip gauges, combination of slip
gauge enables measurements to be made in the range of 0.0025 to 100mm but in combinations with end/
length bars measurement range upto 1200mm is possible.
Note. The accuracy of line and end standards is affected by temperature changes and both are originally
calibrated at 20 C. also care is taken in manufacture to ensure that change of shape with time is
reduced to negligible proportions.

Numerical Problems: solved in class

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Angular measurements: The angle is defined as the opening between two lines which meet at a point.
If one line is moved around a point in an arc, a complete circle can be formed and it is from this circle
the units of angle are derived. If a circle is divided into 360 parts, then each part is called a degree (0).
An angle is one which requires no absolute standard, and it is the precision with which a circle can be
divided to get the correct measure of angle. Each degree is further divided into sixty parts called minutes
() and each minute is further subdivided into 60 parts called seconds ().

Measurement of angle using sine bar: A sine bar consists of a hardened, precision ground body with
two precision ground cylinders fixed at the ends.

The distance between the centers of the cylinders is precisely controlled, and the top of the bar is parallel
to a line through the centers of the two rollers. The sine bar is used to measure angles based on the sine
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principle. Its upper surface forms the hypotenuse of a triangle formed by a steel bar cylinder near each
end. When one of the cylinders, called rollers, is resting on a flat surface, the bar can be set at any
desired angle by simply raising the second cylinder. The required angle is obtained when the difference
in height between the two rollers is equal to the sine of the angle multiplied by the distance the centre of
the rollers. Since bars are made of corrosion resistant steel, hardened ground and stabilized. The size is
specified by the central distance between the cylinders, which is 100mm, 200mm, or 300mm. The upper
surface has high degree of flatness up to 0.001mm for 100mm length and is perfectly parallel to the axis
joining the centre of the two cylinders.

Measuring unknown angles using sine bar: Sine bar can also be used to measure unknown angles to a
high degree of precision. The angle of the work is first measured using an instrument such as bevel
protractor. Then, the work part is clamped to the sine bar and set on top of a surface plate to that angle
using slip gauges as shown in.

A dial gauge fixed to a stand is brought in contact with the help to surface of the work part at one end set
to zero. Now, the dial indicator is moved to the other end of work part in a straight line. A zero reading
on the dial indicator indicates that the work part surface is perfectly horizontal and the set angle is the
right one.

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Introduction to metrology 2017

Sine centre: A special type of sine bar is known as sine centre which is used for measuring angle of
conical objects. However using sine bar or sine centre we cannot measure the angle more than 45.

The cylindrical components cannot be measured or held easily on sine bar. In addition to sine bar the
Sine centre consists of a pair of clamps and centre for holding cylindrical work piece.

Angle gauges: angle gauges was devised by Dr. G.A. Tomlinson of the National Physical Laboratory in
the United Kingdom. He developed a set in the year 1939, which provided the highest number of angle

His set of 13 blocks could be used to set any angle between 0 and 180 in increments of 3.

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Introduction to metrology 2017

Angle gauges, which are made of high grade wear resistant steel work similar to slip gauges. The gauges
come in a standard set of angle blocks that could be wrung together in a suitable combination to build an
angle. Reversal of an angle block subtracts itself from the total angle generated by combining other
angle blocks. This provides the scope for various combinations of angle gauges in order to generate
angles spread over a wide range by using minimum number of gauges. Angle gauge blocks are
commonly made of oil hardening tool steels, hardened to Rockwell C65 or Chrome steel with 85%
chromium and 15% Nickel.

Optical flat: An optical flat is an optical-grade piece of glass lapped and polished to be extremely flat
on one or both sides, usually within a few tens of nanometers. They are used with a monochromatic
light to determine the flatness of other surfaces, whether optical, metallic, ceramic, or otherwise,
by interference.

When an optical flat is placed on another surface and illuminated, the light waves reflect off both the
bottom surface of the flat and the surface it is resting on. This causes a phenomenon similar to thin-film
interference. The reflected waves interfere, creating a pattern of interference fringes visible as light and
dark bands. The spacing between the fringes is smaller where the gap is changing more rapidly,
indicating a departure from flatness in one of the two surfaces, in a similar way to the contour lines on a
map. A flat surface is indicated by a pattern of straight, parallel fringes with equal spacing, while other
patterns indicate uneven surfaces. Two adjacent fringes indicate a difference in elevation of one-
half wavelength of the light used, so by counting the fringes differences in elevation of the surface can
be measured to better than one micro metre. Usually only one of the two surfaces of an optical flat is
made flat to the specified tolerance, and this surface is indicated by an arrow on the edge of the glass.

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How interference fringes form: The distance between the dark fringe (a) and the bright fringe (b)
indicates a change in the light path length of 1/2 the wavelength, so a change of the width of the gap of
1/4 wavelength. So the distance between two bright or dark fringes indicates a change in the gap of 1/2
wavelength. The gap between the surfaces and the wavelength of the light waves are greatly

The diagram above shows an optical flat resting on a surface to be tested. Unless the two surfaces are
perfectly flat there will be a small gap between them (shown), which will vary with the contour of the
surface. Monochromatic light (red) shines through the glass flat and reflects from both the bottom
surface of the optical flat and the top surface of the test piece, and the two reflected rays combine
and superpose. However the ray reflecting off the bottom surface travels a longer path. The additional
path length is equal to twice the gap between the surfaces. In addition the ray reflecting off the bottom
surface undergoes a 180 phase reversal, while the internal reflection of the other ray from the underside
of the optical flat causes no phase reversal. The brightness of the reflected light depends on the
difference in the path length of the two rays.

Autocollimator: An autocollimator is an optical instrument for non-contact measurement of angles.

They are typically used to align components and measure deflections in optical or mechanical systems.
An autocollimator works by projecting an image onto a target mirror and measuring the deflection of the
returned image against a scale, either visually or by means of an electronic detector. A visual

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Introduction to metrology 2017

autocollimator can measure angles as small as fraction of seconds, while an electronic autocollimator
can have up to 100 times more resolution.

Principle of Autocollimator:

A crossline target graticule is positioned at the focal plane of a telescope objective system with the
intersection of the crossline on the optical axis, i.e. at the principal focus. When the target graticule is
illuminated, rays of light diverging from the intersection point reach the objective via a beam splitter and
are projected from the objective as parallel pencils of light. In this mode, the optical system is operating
as a collimator. A flat reflector placed in front of the objective and exactly normal to the optical axis
reflects the parallel pencils of light back along their original paths. They are then brought to
focus in the plane of the target graticule and exactly coincident with its intersection. A
proportion of the returned light passes straight through the beam splitter and the return image
of the target crossline is therefore visible through the eyepiece. In this mode, the optical system
is operating as a telescope focused at infinity. Linear displacement of the graticule image in the plane of
the eyepiece is therefore directly proportional to reflector tilt and can be measured by an eyepiece
graticule, optical micrometer or electronic detector system, scaled directly in angular units. The
autocollimator is set permanently at infinity focus and no device for focusing adjustment for distance is
provided or desirable. It responds only to reflector tilt. This is independent of separation between the
reflector and the autocollimator, assuming no atmospheric disturbance and the use of a perfectly flat

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How Autocollimator works: Autocollimators consists of telescope and a collimator, a device that
narrows a beam of particles or waves. They project a beam of collimated light from an external reflector
which reflects all or part of the beam back to an instrument. This beam is then focused and sensed by a
photo detector. The difference between the emitted beam and the reflected beam is measured.

Applications of Autocollimator:
Parallelism with a collimator and telescope.
Angles in glass prisms.
The accuracy of rotary tables.
The accuracy if indexing heads.
Camera objectives.
Radius of concave and convex surfaces.
Parallel and perpendicularity of surfaces.
Finally Autocollimators can be used to measure straightness, flatness, roll angle, and the squareness
between a vertical surface and a machine tool.

Assignment questions from Module 1:

1. Define metrology and explain its significance in engineering.
2. Mention and explain subdivisions of standards. Define line standard and end standards.
3. Explain with neat sketch micro optic auto collimator.
4. Using M112 set of slip gauges, build the following dimensions.
i) 45.4255 ii) 62.312 iii)56.496
5. Build up a dimension of 69.287mm and 35.487mm using M87 Set slip gauges.
6. With neat sketch state working principle of sine bar.

7. Sketch and explain Imperial standard yard and International prototype meter.

8. What are the major differences between line standards and End standards? Bring them out in
your answer.

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9. Explain the concept of measurement of angles using angle gauges with appropriate sketches.
10. Transfer from Line standard to End standard or NPL method of deriving End standard from
line standard.
11. What are material standards? Give an overview of different material standards.
12. Explain accuracy, precision and errors in measurement. Give a brief note on system of
13. Give the applications of autocollimator for measuring straightness and squareness.
14. Four length bars A,B,C,D of approximately 250 mm are to be calibrated with a calibrated
standard metre bar which is 0.0008mm less than a metre. I t is also found that, bar B is
0.0002mm longer than bar A, bar C is 0.0004mm longer than A, and bar D is 0.0001mm shorter
than bar A. the length of all four bars put together is 0.0003 mm longer than the calibrated
standard metre. Determine the actual dimensions of each bar.


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