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ISSN 1445-8012 (online)

ISSN 1445-7504 (print)

NSC R 71

Pattern Approval Specifications for Fixed

Storage Tanks for Trade Use
(OIML R 71:1985(E), IDT)

The English version of international standard OIML R 71:1985

Fixed Storage Tanks: General Requirements is adopted as the identical
Commission national standard with the reference number NSC R 71

First edition February 1993 (Document 124)

First edition, first revision November 2001 (renamed NSC R 71)

National Standards Commission, Australia 1985

12 Lyonpark Road, North Ryde, NSW 2113

PO Box 282, North Ryde, NSW 1670

Telephone: (61 2) 9856 0300

Facsimile: (61 2) 9856 0399
Web page:
When you receive an amendment notice from the Commission,
insert it into your copy of this publication.

NSC R 71. Pattern Approval Specifications for Fixed Storage Tanks for Trade
Use (2001, first edition, first revision)

Erratum Date Page Location Details of change


1. General................................................................................................................................2
2. Classification and Description...............................................................................................2
3. Units of Measurement ..........................................................................................................3
4. Technical and Metrological Characteristics of Tanks .............................................................3
5. Metrological Controls...........................................................................................................6

Appendix 1. Procedures to be Followed for the Determination of Volumes

(Quantities) of Liquid in a Tank .........................................................................................10
Appendix 2. Examples of Location of Guage Hatches and of Realisation
of the Reference Point.......................................................................................................11
Appendix 3. ISO Standards and Draft Standards on Calibration Methods...................................17
Appendix 4. An Example of the Smallest Measurable Volume and the
Smallest Measurable Height ..............................................................................................18
The distance between the free surface of the
T.1 Calibration
liquid and the upper reference point, measured
The set of operations carried out to determine along the vertical measurement axis.
the capacity of a tank up to one or several
liquid levels. T.9 Reference Height (H)
The distance between the free surface of the
T.2 Nominal Capacity
liquid and the upper reference point, measured
The rounded value of the maximum volume of along the vertical measurement axis, under
liquid a tank may contain under normal reference conditions.
conditions of use.
T.10 High Point
T.3 Sensitivity of a Tank in the
The highest point on the bottom of a vertical
Vicinity of a Liquid Level (h)
cylindrical tank, having a practically horizontal
The change in the level, h, divided by the bottom. This is the point which is covered last
corresponding relative change in the volume, by the liquid when the tank is being filled.
V/V, for the contained volume, V,
corresponding to the level, h. T.11 Deadwood
Any tank fitting which affects the capacity of a
T.4 Gauge Hatch
tank. Positive deadwood is when the capacity
The opening in the upper part of the tank to of the fitting adds to the effective capacity of
allow the liquid levels in the tank to be the tanks. Negative deadwood is when the
measured. volume of the fitting displaces liquid and
reduces the effective capacity.
T.5 Vertical Measurement Axis
The vertical line which passes through the T.12 Calibration Table
middle of the still well (guide pipe), if provided, The expression, in the form of a table, of the
belonging to the gauge hatch concerned, and mathematical function, V(h), which represents
corresponding to the position intended for the relation between the height, h (independent
automatic or manual level gauges. variable) and the volume, V (dependent
T.6 Dipping Datum Point
The intersection of the vertical measurement T.13 Graduated Zone
axis with the upper surface of the dip plate, or For tanks for which a calibration table has
with the bottom surface of the tank if the dip been established, the range of volumes
plate is not provided. It constitutes the origin between the deadstock and the nominal
for the measurement of liquid levels (zero capacity.

T.7 Upper Reference Point

The point located on the vertical measurement
axis, with reference to which the ullage is

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T.14 Smallest Measurable Volume position with reference to the ground;
means used for measuring levels or volumes
The smallest volume the measurement of which
(quantifies) of liquid contained;
is authorised, for delivery or reception of the
kind of liquid(s) to be contained; and
liquid, at any point of the graduated zone.
conditions of use (supplementary influence
The smallest measurable height of a tank is the quantities).
change in the level which corresponds to the
2.1.1 The most common shapes of the tanks
smallest measurable volume.
are the following:
T.15 Deadstock cylindrical with vertical or horizontal axis,
Volume of liquid contained in the bottom of the and with flat, conical, truncated,
tank, up to the lowest dipping datum point. hemispherical, elliptical or dome-shaped
bottom or ends;
T.16 Lower Limit of Accurate spherical or spheroidal; or
Capacity parallelepipedic.
The capacity below which the maximum Note: The vertical cylindrical tanks may have a
permissible error does not apply, taking fixed or floating roof (or a floating
account of the shape of the tank and the cover).
calibration method. 2.1.2 The position of the tanks with reference
to the ground may be:
1. GENERAL on the ground;
1.1 Fixed storage tanks at atmospheric partially underground;
pressure or under pressure (hereinafter called underground; or
tanks) are built for bulk liquid storage and above ground.
may be used for measurement of volumes 2.1.3 The means used for measuring the levels
(quantifies) of liquid contained. When used for or volumes (quantities) of liquid contained may
that measurement, and when subjected to be:
national metrological control, they shall comply a single graduation mark;
with the requirements of this document. a measuring device with a graduated scale
1.2 Tanks represent a category of simple (with a viewing window or an external
measuring equipment, but the measurement of gauge tube);
volumes (quantifies) of liquid contained in a a graduated rule (dipstick) or a graduated
tank is a complex operation which, in addition tape with dip-weight or sinker (manual
to the tank, involves the use of other devices measurement); or
and measuring instruments which, in general, an automatic level gauge (automatic
may not be directly connected to the tank (see measurement).
Appendix 1). 2.1.4 The main influence quantifies which
affect calibration are pressure and
2. CLASSIFICATION AND temperature. Pressure, including hydrostatic
DESCRIPTION pressure, may alter the apparent volume by
distorting the shell. Differences from the
2.1 Regarding their calibration and the
reference temperature will alter the volumes by
establishing of calibration tables, the tanks may
expansion or contraction of the liquid and shell.
be classified according to the following criteria:

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(a) With reference to pressure, the tanks loss of liquid by evaporation.
may be: 4.3 The tanks, to be accepted for
at ambient atmospheric pressure; verification, shall comply with the following
closed, at low pressure; or general requirements, aiming to ensure the
closed, at high pressure. accuracy of measurement of the volume of
(b) With reference to temperature, the tanks liquid contained.
may be: (a) The shape, material, reinforcement,
without heating; construction and assembly shall be such
with heating, but without thermal that the tank is sufficiently resistant to the
insulation; atmosphere and the effects of the
with heating and thermal insulation; or contained liquid and that, under the normal
with refrigeration and thermal conditions of use, it suffers no permanent
insulation. deformation which may alter its capacity.
2.2 A vertical cylindrical tank, with fixed Materials other than metals shall be
roof, is shown in Figure 1. specially approved.
2.3 A horizontal cylindrical tank is shown in (b) The dipping datum point and the upper
Figure 2. reference point shall be constructed so
Note: Figures 1 and 2 show classical methods of that their positions remain practically
construction of tanks. They are used only unchanged, whatever the state of filling
for illustration and shall in no case prohibit of the tank, the temperature etc.
the use of more modern construction However, if it is impossible to ensure the
methods. constancy of the reference points (this
applies particularly to very large tanks,
3. UNITS OF MEASUREMENT e.g. over 1 000 m3), the effects on the
The authorised units of measurement and their reference points (as a function of filling,
symbols are: cubic metre (m), kilolitre (kL), temperature and density) shall be
litre (L), tonne (t), kilogram (kg), kilogram per indicated in the calibration certificate so
cubic metre (kg/m), metre (m) and millimetre that corrections can be applied during
(mm). the determination of volumes.
Examples of the position of gauge
4. TECHNICAL AND hatches and the construction of
METROLOGICAL reference points are shown in Appendix
4.1 The tank shall be built in accordance (c) The shape of the tanks shall be such that
with sound engineering practice. With the formation of air-pockets during
reference to their construction, position and filling, or of pockets of liquid after
conditions of use, the tanks shall comply with draining, is prevented.
the legal requirements from storage of (d) To permit the application of the geometric
contained liquids, in relation to the methods of calibration, the tanks shall
characteristics of these liquids (potable, show no deformation, bulges etc, which
petroleum, chemical etc). could prevent correct measurement of
4.2 The tanks may be provided with devices their dimensions and interpolation between
necessary to prevent, as far as possible, the measurements.

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Figure 1. Diagram of a vertical cylindrical tank with fixed roof

1 shell 14 dip plate

2 bottom of the tank 15 lower angle-irons
3 roof 16 upper angle-irons
4 access hole 17 calibration information plate
5 inlet line 18 opening
6 outlet line 19 vertical measurement axis
7 drain line 20 heating coil
8 gauge hatch PRS upper reference point
9 guide pipe PRI dipping datum point
10 lid of the guide pipe H reference height
11 handrail C ullage
12 access ladder with guard rail h level of the liquid in the tank
13 measurement platform

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Figure 2. Diagram of a horizontal cylindrical tank with level tube
1 cylindrical shell 7 level of the liquid in the tank
2 end 8 gauge glass protection
3 glass tube level gauge 9 graduated scale
4 isolating valve 10 cursor
5 safety shut-off valve 11 access hole
6 drain valve

(e) The tanks shall be stable on their 4.5 The tanks shall be provided with a
foundations. This may be ensured by calibration information plate bearing:
anchoring or by an adequate period of the identification number of the tank;
stabilisation, the tank remaining full, so
that its base will not vary greatly with the reference height, H, in millimetres
time. (except for tanks with an external gauge
tube); and
For vertical cylindrical tanks exceeding
2 000 m3), five gauge hatches may be the number of the calibration certificate
provided, one of these as close as followed (with a horizontal or vertical
possible to the centre and the other ones separation line) by the last two figures of
evenly spaced near the side walls. The the year in which calibration was carried
gauge hatch located in the part least out and preceded by the name or acronym
exposed to the sun is the principal gauge of the institution which carried out the
hatch. calibration.

(f) The tanks shall be pressure tested and It is recommended to mark on the plate also
leak proof, the results being recorded the nominal capacity, rounded down to the
in a document which shall be presented nearest cubic metre or kilolitre.
before calibration starts. The calibration information plate shall be
4.4 The tanks shall comply with the made of a metal which remains practically
technical requirements concerning the unchanged under normal conditions of use.
installation and use of the level measuring The plate shall be fixed on an integral part of
devices which are provided for each tank. the tank, so located that it is readily visible

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and easily legible, not subject to (c) reverification.
deterioration, and in such a manner that it 5.2 The approval of design drawings
cannot be removed without breaking the partially replaces pattern approval, which is
seals which carry the verification marks. normally required for ordinary measuring
It is recommended that this plate be located instruments. This approval must be obtained by
in the immediate vicinity of the gauge hatch. the manufacturer before construction is started.
Design drawings of the tank shall be submitted
4.6 The maximum permissible calibration
to the Commission which show:
error applies to the values between the lower
limit of accurate capacity and the nominal the general layout;
capacity, shown in the calibration table. the method of fixing the tank on the
The maximum permissible error, positive or ground (or underground);
negative, shall be equal to: the position of the valves and of the inlet
0.2% of the indicated volume for vertical and outlet pipes so that the way in which
cylindrical tanks calibrated by a geometric the tank can be completely emptied for
method; the purpose of cleaning and verification
can be deduced;
0.3% of the indicated volume for
horizontal or tilted cylindrical tanks the position and dimensions of
calibrated by a geometric method and for deadwoods (positive and negative);
any tank calibrated by a volumetric the details concerning the floating roof or
method; or floating cover (if provided) including its
0.5% of the indicated volume for spherical mass;
or spheroidal tanks calibrated by a the details of fitting the liquid level
geometric method. measuring device in the tank; and
In case of particular technical difficulties, the position of the calibration information
these maximum permissible errors may be plate.
5.3 Verification is carried out in two
The calibration table may be extended below stages: examination of the tank in situ and
the lower limit of accurate capacity; the calibration.
maximum permissible errors indicated above
do not apply in this extended zone. 5.3.1 During the in situ examination, the
finished construction is checked, establishing
4.7 The tanks shall be presented for its conformity with the approved drawings.
verification empty and well cleaned. They Take into consideration the uniformity of
shall be degassed and prepared so that they construction, any possible permanent
do not present any risk to the operators. deformations, the rigidity of the structure,
stability, access holes, access to the gauge
5. METROLOGICAL CONTROLS hatch, the possibility of carrying out
5.1 Metrological controls shall include all calibration (if appropriate additional work
or part of the following operations: which would facilitate calibration may be
(a) approval of design drawings in respect required), protected access ladder to the
to the metrological characteristics of roof, handrail around the roof, internal fittings
the tank; (deadwood), floating roof or floating cover,
(b) verification; and attachments for the fitting of the calibration

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information plate and, in particular, the 5.5 Calibration of Tanks
workmanship and the fitting of the level The calibration of a tank may be carried out by
measuring devices (according to clauses 4.1 one of the following methods:
to 4.5). geometric;
5.3.2 Calibration may be carried out when volumetric; or
the team involved is provided with positive a combination of the two.
results of the in situ examination and of the The choice of the method or of the
check of compliance with the requirements in procedure is imposed by the nominal
clauses 4.3(f) and 4.7. capacity of the tank, the shape, position,
Concerning calibration itself, the requirements conditions of use etc.
in clause 5.5 shall also be taken into account. A list of ISO standards for different calibration
5.4 Reverification is carried out at the end of methods is given in Appendix 31.
the period of validity of the certificate. 5.5.1 The geometric methods consist of
In addition, reverification is carried out after direct or indirect measurement of external or
any accident or deformation of the tank, internal dimensions of the tank, of the positive
which could cause a change in its and negative deadwoods and of the floating
metrological qualities (including changing its roof or floating cover, if provided.
position and modifications). The owner of the For geometric calibration, one of the
tank shall inform the metrological authorities following methods is used:
of any incident of this kind.
strapping, for vertical or horizontal
Reverification consists of: cylindrical tanks, spheres and spheroids;
examination of the construction and of its
external appearance; and optical method with a reference line
calibration. and/or a reference plane for vertical
cylindrical tanks; or
5.4.1 During the examination of the
construction and of its external appearance, it optical method by triangulation, for
shall be ascertained that no modifications vertical cylindrical tanks, spheres and
were carried out with reference to the spheroids.
drawings. If this is not the case, the problem Note: The procedure of internal measurement
may be solved in situ if it is of minor by means of a tape with a tensioning
importance, or the drawings shall be device is generally not admitted for
amended and their approval renewed. calibration of tanks containing liquids
5.4.2 Calibration may be carried out after it involved in international trade, except
has been confirmed that: when no better method is applicable,
the result of the examination of e.g. in the case of a thermally-insulated
construction and external appearance is tank.
satisfactory; and The geometric methods may be used on tanks
the requirements in clause 4.7 are with a nominal capacity of about 50 m3 and
complied with. greater, which have a regular geometric shape
Concerning the calibration itself, the and show no deformation.
requirements in clause 5.5 shall also be taken
into account. As the ISO standards published by OIML in 1985
have been superseded they are not included as
part of this document.

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5.5.2 The volumetric method consists of observed, as well as the requirements laid
establishing directly the internal capacity, by down by the responsible authorities,
measuring, by means of a measurement concerning the risks of explosion and fire,
standard, the partial volumes of a non-volatile relating specifically to the place at which the
liquid which are successively delivered into, tank is installed, if appropriate.
or withdrawn from, the tank. Water is a The values of volumes are given in
suitable non-volatile liquid, and has the the calibration table to at least five significant
additional advantage of having a small figures.
coefficient of expansion.
If the calibration table is extended below the
The volumetric method is generally used for lower limit of accurate capacity, the values of
calibration of the following categories of the extended zone are given with a number of
tanks: significant figures compatible with the
underground tanks, of any type; expected calibration accuracy.
tanks on the ground or above ground, In the case of vertical cylindrical
with a nominal capacity up to 100 m3; and tanks, a calibration table is established for a
reference density of the liquid contained.
tanks of a shape not suitable for a
geometric method. This reference density shall be indicated in
the calibration table. In addition, the table
5.5.3 The combination method consists of
shall indicate the limits of variation of density,
establishing, by means of the geometric
above and below that reference density,
method, the volumes corresponding to the
causing a relative variation in volume greater
shell of the tank and by means of the
than 0.025%.
volumetric method the volumes
corresponding to the bottom of the tank. 5.6 Granting of the Calibration Certificate
and Application of the Verification Mark
This method applies, under the same
conditions as the geometric method, to tanks 5.6.1 The tanks which comply with all the
of which the lower part consists of a shape requirements of this document shall be
for which the volume cannot be determined accepted for verification. After calibration,
with sufficient accuracy, by means of the the calibration certificate is issued and the
geometric method. markings on the calibration information plate
are completed.
5.5.4 The calibration operations include:
5.6.2 The calibration certificate shall include:
consultation of drawings, examination of
technical data, field measurements; the technical data concerning the tank:
reference height, H;
calculation and interpretation of results;
positions of the vertical measurement
axes (gauge hatches, reference points
preparation of the calibration table or including identification of the principal
determination of the function V(h ). one); Before and during execution of level measuring means, if known;
measurements on-site, the technical nominal capacity and lower limit of
requirements regarding safety at work, e.g. accurate capacity;
danger of toxic gases, possible contamination smallest measurable volume
from the stored product (e.g. leaded gasoline) corresponding to manual gauging or to
and conditions for working at heights, shall be the automatic level gauge, if the latter is

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known (see Appendix 4); 5.6.3 The verification is confirmed by
applying a verification mark on:
the calibration table, for increments h;
the calibration certificate;
the table of volumes corresponding to a
vertical distance of 1 mm, for each zone for the calibration information plate;
which the volume per millimetre varies a place making it possible to identity the
(interpolation table); upper reference point, if appropriate;
a statement that the values given in the the graduated rule (dipstick), if provided;
certificate are valid for a reference and
temperature of 20C (or any temperature
officially accepted); the device for sealing the level gauge, if
the reference density, if appropriate (see
the maximum permissible error on the
determination of the values given in the
calibration table (see clause 4.6);
the data concerning calibration, that is to
say the method used and the regulation or
standard which constitutes the legal and
technical basis;
the period of validity of the calibration
certificate, if prescribed by national
the corrections for the changes in certain
parameters, such as immersion of the
floating roof or floating cover, pressure,
temperature, differences in density greater
than those specified in clause etc;
the date of issue of the calibration

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In principle, the measurement of the volumes Notes:
(quantities) of liquid contained in a tank (A) It is sometimes necessary to measure:
requires the following procedures:
the height of the layer of water
(a) measurement of the level of the free deposited at the bottom of the tank;
surface of the liquid, whence the volume
of the liquid in the tank, Vtr, at the the quantity of suspended water; and
temperature t r, is determined, using the the quantity of solid impurities in
values given in the certificate or the suspension etc;
calibration table;
and to make the appropriate
(b) measurement of the mean temperature corrections.
t r;
(B) If a device for determining directly the
(c) taking of samples and preparation of a mass of the liquid contained in relation to
mean sample representative of the liquid the hydrostatic pressure is used, the
contained in the tank; the density tl of procedures described in (a) to (e) are
the liquid at a temperature tl, very close considerably simplified. It is sufficient to
to t r is determined in the laboratory; read the indication of the device
(d) determination of the density tr, on the (graduated in units of mass) and to
basis of t, by calculation or with the know the horizontal section and its
help of tables; and variations in relation to height.

(e) calculation of the mass of the liquid using (C) In the case of a liquid under pressure
the formula M = Vtr tr . without a gaseous phase, the pressure
shall be measured and appropriate
The procedures described in (d) and (e) may corrections for compressibility of the
be replaced by the determination of the liquid and for elastic deformation of the
volume, Vo, and the density, to, at the tank shall be taken into account.
reference temperature, t o, by calculation or
with the help of tables: M = Vo to. (D) In the case of simultaneous presence of
the gaseous and liquid phases, the liquid
It may sometimes be sufficient to calculate the equivalent of the saturated vapour shall
value Vto at the reference temperature on the be determined, in addition to the
basis of the procedures described in (a), (b) corrections mentioned in (C), and the
and (c) and with the help of tables. In some result added to the volume of liquid.
cases, for instance for products of moderate
price or measured in small quantity, a
calculation of Vtr according to the procedure
described in (a), is sufficient.

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1. Dimensions are given in millimetres, unless otherwise indicated.
2. Figure 3 to 8 show methods of construction and installation of tanks. They are used only for
illustration and shall in no case prohibit the use of more modern construction and installation

Figure 3. Design details of a guide pipe in a horizontal cylindrical tank

1 guide pipe and still well (internal diameter = 100 mm)
2 holes 25 mm diameter at 150 mm pitch
3 lid of guide pipe
4 fixed metal ring
5 rubber joint
6 set screw of the lid
7 calibration information plate
8 dip plate (another solution is to fix the dip plate to the lower end of the guide pipe)

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Figure 4. Design details of a guide pipe in a vertical cylindrical tank with fixed roof, of which the
deflection when loaded is negligible
1 guide pipe fixed to the upper part of the body by welded gussets
2 gauge hatch
3 funnel
4 platform
5 guard rail
6 calibration information plate
7 dip plate (300 300 mm) fixed to the shell by welded gussets
8 vertical measurement axis
9 lid of guide pipe

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Figure 5. Design details of a guide pipe in a vertical cylindrical tank with fixed roof, of which the
deflection when loaded must be taken into consideration
1 cylindrical shell
2 L-section
3 gussets
4 guide pipe and still well (internal diameter = 100 mm) fixed to the lower part of the body by
welded L-sections (2) and gussets (3)
5 holes diameter 25 mm at maximum 300 mm pitch
6 screw (3) to regulate the verticalness of the guide pipe
7 flexible joint
8 screw collar
9 lid of guide pipe as in Figures 3 and 4
10 dip plate (10 mm thick) fixed to the guide pipe by welded round iron
11 fixed roof
12 calibration information plate

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Figure 6. Design details of a guide pipe and level gauge in a vertical cylindrical tank with fixed roof,
of which the deflection when loaded must be taken into consideration if the bottom of the tank is
1 indicating device of the level gauge
2 support bracket
3 safety ring
4 sliding guides
5 protective tube for the level gauge tape
6 pulley for the tape
7 manual gauge hatch
8 flexible joint
9 seal
10 access hole
11 guide pipe and still well
12 tensioned wires for guiding the float
13 tape
14 float
15 guide wire bracket

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Figure 7. Design details of a level guage with still well in a spherical tank
1 metal wall (sphere)
2 pipe (internal diameter = 300 mm) to be adjusted vertically (5 mm tolerances between the
vertical determined by plumb bob and three generating lines at 120)
3 indicating device of the level guage
4 holes diameter 40 at 200 mm pitch
5 glass level indicator with metal casing
6 drain plug or valve
7 spherical isolating valve
8 mark of reference level (for in-service checking of zero adjustment of the level gauge)
9 three gussets at 120
10 three bolts for vertical alignment of the guide pipe
11 calibration information plate
AA axis of the sphere
a minimum dimension compatible with the deformation of the sphere

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Figure 8. Design details of a level tube in a vertical cylindrical tank
1 calibration information plate
2 level indicating tube
3 ladder fixed alongside the level tube
4 fixing clamp of the level tube
5 vertical transparent level tube
6 millimetre rule
7 three-way valve
8 base support for the level tube and millimetre rule
9 fastening strap between the support (8) and the wall of the vat

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As the ISO standards published by OIML in 1985 have been superseded they are not included as
part of this document.

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The smallest measurable volume is determined so that a change, h, in the level of the liquid,
resulting from cumulative uncertainties on the measurement of the level at two successive points,
does not lead to a relative error on the delivered or collected volume greater than a pre-established
value, ( h), generally smaller than the maximum permissible error on calibration.
For example, for a vertical tank, by fixing ( h) 0.1% and h = 2 mm, one obtains:

Where V is the smallest measurable volume and H is the smallest measurable height.
Therefore, the Commission may specify the smallest measurable height of 2 m and, having
established the calibration table, indicate in the certificate the smallest measurable volume, that is to
say the volume corresponding to this smallest height, in the zone in which the diameter is the largest.
1. The values ( h) and h are established by the Commission.
2. Other methods of calculation of the smallest measurable volume may be used.

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