Instrumentation Topics

Absolute Accuracy
A measure of the uncertainty of an instrument reading compared to that of a primary standard traceable to a National standard.
Absolute Instrument
An instrument whose calibration can be determined by means of physical measurements on the instrument.
Accelerometer
An instrument for measuring acceleration, as of aircraft or guided missiles.
Acoustic Calibrator
A device which produces a known sound pressure on the microphone of a sound level measurement system.
Aerometer
An instrument for determining the weight, density and other properties of air or other gases.
Airflow Meter
A sensor that measures the airflow rate through a duct.
Alcohol Thermometer
A liquid-in-glass thermometer containing an alcohol liquid, such as ethanol.
Altimeter
An instrument for measuring height above a reference datum.
Ampere Hour Meter
An instrument that monitors current over time. The indication is the product of current (amperes) and time (hours).
Astrolabe
An instrument that was used to determine the altitude of objects in the sky.
Atmometer
An instrument for measuring the rate at which water evaporates, also called an evaporimeter.
Atomic Clock
A timekeeping device controlled by the frequency of the natural vibrations of certain atoms.
Barograph
A recording type instrument that provides a continuous trace of air pressure variation with time.
Barretter
A type of bolometer characterized by an increase in resistance as the dissipated power rises.
Beacon
A device which serves as a signal emitter for use as a guidance or warning aid.
Biotelemetry
The remote measuring and evaluation of life functions.
Bolometer
A device for measuring minute amounts of radiant energy.
Bomb Calorimeter
A bomb calorimeter measures the enthalpy of combustion.
Bourdon Tube
Thin-walled tube of elastic metal flattened and bent into circular shape, which tends to straighten as pressure inside is increased.
Calculator
A machine for performing arithemtical calculations.
Calibrate
To determine the indication or output of a measuring device with respect to that of a standard.
Calorimeter
An insulated vessel for measuring the amount of heat absorbed or released by a chemical or physical change.
Capacitor Microphone
Microphone whose operation depends on variations in capacitance caused by varying air pressure on the movable plate of a capacitor.
Carbon Microphone
Microphone whose operation depends on pressure variation in carbon granules causing a change in resistance.
Cold Junction Compensation
The means to compensate for the ambient temperature in a thermocouple measurement circuit.
Compound Gauge
Instrument for measuring pressures both above and below atmospheric pressure.
Console
An array of controls and indicators for controlling a complex system or sequence of events.
Coulter Counter
Instrument used to count the number of small particles in a given volume of a suspension by monitoring decreases in electrical conductivity through a small orifice caused by the particles passing through the orifice.
Cover Slip
Very thin square piece of glass or plastic placed over the specimen on a microscope slide.
Cryometer
A thermometer for measuring low temperatures.
Cup Anemometer
A rotation-type anemometer consists of an array of three, or more, hemispherical cups mounted symmetrically about a vertical rotation axis.
Dead Time
In radar, the interval following a pulse transmission during which the receiver is unable to respond to an incoming signal.
Deformation-Type Thermometer
A thermal sensor with a sensing element that bends or deforms by an amount which is a function of temperature.
Detector
A device that receives energy in one form and supplies an ouput in another form.
Dew Point Hygrometer
An instrument used for determining the dewpoint.
Differential Pressure Indicator
An indicator which signals the difference in pressure between two points, typically between the upstream and downstream sides of a filter, valve or expansion element.
Differential Scanning Calorimeter
A thermoanalytical technique in which the difference in the amount of heat required to increase the temperature of a sample and reference is measured as a function of temperature.
Dilatometer
A device for measuring volume changes.
Directional Gyro
A two-degree-of-freedom gyro with a provision for maintaining its spin axis approximately horizontal.
Dosimeter
A device worn by a worker for determining the worker's accumulated noise exposure with regard to level and time according to a pre-determined integration formula.
Double Integrating Gyro
A single-degree-of-freedom gyro having essentially no restraint of its spin axis about the output axis.
Draft Gauge
Instrument used to measure air movement by measuring air pressure differences.
Dropsonde
A modified radiosonde package that is dropped by parachute from an aircraft to obtain temperature, pressure, and humidity profiles of the atmosphere below flight level.
Durometer
An instrument for determining the hardness of synthetic rubber or elastomeric materials, usually on the Shore A scale.
Echo Sounding
Measurement of the depth of the ocean by directing a sonic or ultrasonic pressure wave vertically downward and determining the time taken before the echo is received.
Eddy Current Probe
A non-contact electrical device that measures the displacement of one surface relative to the tip of the probe.
Electric Field Probe
A short antenna with a coaxial cable lead, used for the detection of high impedance E-field source signals over a very short range.
Electrodynamic Meter Movement
A meter movement using fixed field coils and a moving coil; usually used in ammeters and wattmeters.
Electrodynamometer
A meter using an electrodynamic movement to measure an electric current.
Electron Microscope
A type of microscope that uses a particle beam of electrons to illuminate the specimen and produce a magnified image.
Electrostatic Meter Movement
A meter movement that uses the electrostatic repulsion of two sets of charged plates.
Encoder Resolution
Measure of the smallest positional change which can be detected by the encoder.
Extensometer
A test apparatus for indicating the deformation of metal while it is subjected to stress.
FFT Analyser
A device that uses the FFT algorithm to calculate a spectrum from a time domain signal.
Free Gyroscope
A gyro not provided with an erection system, free to move about its axes.
Geiger Counter
A radiation detector consisting of two electrodes with a low-pressure gas in between.
G meter
A meter that indicates acceleration.
Goniometer
Instrument for measuring angles.
Graphic Level Recorder
A device for recording signal level in dB vs. time on a tape. The level in dB vs. angle can be recorded also for directivity patterns.
Gray Code
A binary code in which adjacent quantities differ in one place or column only.
Hair Hygrometer
Measures atmospheric relative humidity by means of the variation in length of a bundle of human hairs as they adsorb atmospheric water vapour.
Hot-Wire Airflow Meter
A constant-temperature hot-wire sensing device, used in electronic fuel injection systems, which measures the rate of a mass airflow into the engine by measuring the current needed to keep the hot wire at the same temperature.
Hot-Wire Anemometer
Uses the wind induced changes in the temperature of a metal wire that is heated by an electric current and cooled by convective heat loss.
Hygristor
An electrical instrument designed to measure the water vapour in the atmosphere by using a material whose electrical resistance varies with atmospheric humidity.
Hygrograph
A recording-type hygrometer.that produces a permanent hygrogram.
Indicator
A substance that undergoes a sharp, easily observable change when conditions in its solutions change.
Infrared Sensor
A device that can detect electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths that are greater than the visible radiation.
Input Impedance
The measured resistance and capacitance between the input terminals of a circuit.
Instrument Platform
Any support structure or vehicle that contains instruments used to make quantitative observations and measurements.
Instrumentation Amplifier
A circuit whose output voltage with respect to ground is proportional to the difference between the voltages at its two inputs.
Interferometer
An apparatus used to produce and measure interference from two or more coherent wave trains from the same source.
Ionization Gauge
The gas molecules are ionized and the number and type of ions produced measured and related to the pressure of the gas.
Knudsen Gauge
Measures pressure in terms of the net rate of transfer of momentum by molecules between two surface maintained at different temperatures and separated by a distance smaller than the mean free path of the gas molecule.
Magnetometer
An instrument used in the study of geomagnetism for measuring a magnetic element.
Maximum Thermometer
A thermometer designed to automatically register the highest temperature attained during any time interval before it is reset.
McLeod Gauge
A known volume of gas, at the pressure to be measured, is compressed by the movement of a liquid column to a much smaller known volume, at which the resulting higher pressure is measured.
Meteorograph
A collection of automatic meteorological recording instruments, often times describing the package that is carried aloft on an instrument platform.
Meter
A device used to measure a specific quantity, such as current, voltage, or frequency.
Microlock
A satellite telemetry system which uses phase-lock techniques in the ground receiving equipment to achieve extreme sensitivity.
Microphone
An acoustical-electrical transducer by which sound waves in air may be converted to electrical signals.
Microscope
An instrument to see objects too small for the naked eye.
Minimum Thermometer
A thermometer designed to automatically register the lowest temperature attained during any time interval before it is set.
Net Radiometer
A sensor that measures net flux of downward and upward total solar and terrestrial radiation through a horizontal surface.
Noise Generator
A piece of equipment used to produce random electrical noise.
Off Line Test Equipment
Equipment that tests and isolates faults in modules or assemblies removed from systems.
On Line Test Equipment
Continuously monitors the performance of electronic systems.
Oscilloscope
An instrument using a cathode-ray tube for visual display of electric signals.
Phased Array Radar
Radar using many antenna elements which are combined in a controlled phase relationship.
Phonometer
An instrument for measuring the intensity or frequency of sounds.
Plan Position Indicator
A conventional radar display of the location of targets on a horizontal plane.
Polarimeter
An instrument for determining the degree of polarization of electromagnetic radiation.
Polariscope
An instrument for detecting polarized radiation and investigating its properties.
Pressure Altimeter
An altimeter that utilizes the change of atmospheric pressure with height to measure altitude.
Pressure Gauge
Instrument for measuring pressure.
Pressure Type Anemometer
Any instrument that measures the wind speed by measuring the pressure exerted by the wind upon the sensor element of that instrument.
Probe
A device used to send back information.
Psychrometer
An instrument used to determine the dry and wet bulb temperature of air simultaneously.
Pyranometer
An instrument which measures global radiation, the combined intensity of direct solar radiation and diffuse sky radiation.
Pyrgeometer
An instrument which measures the effective terrestrial radiation.
Pyrheliometer
An instrument which measures the intensity of direct solar radiation.
Pyrometric Photography
The derivation of flame temperature measurements by means of comparative photography with a calibrated light source.
Racon
A transponder for interrogation by a primary radar.
Radio Direction Finder
An instrument that intercepts and uses electromagnetic radiation in the radio portion of the spectrum to determine the direction of the radio transmitter.
Radio Frequency Telemetry
A telemetry system that transmits data over a radio frequency.
Radio Interferometer
An interferometer operating at radiofrequencies.
Radiometer
Instrument for detecting and measuring radiant energy.
Radiometer Vacuum Gauge
Another name for a Knudsen Gauge.
Radiosonde
A small, expendable, balloon-borne instrument package with a radio transmitter used to measure the air temperature, pressure and humidity of the atmosphere above the earth′s surface.
Rain Gauge
Instrument used to measure the total amount of precipitation that falls upon a given unit area during a specified time interval.
Resistance Thermometer
An electrical-type thermometer that utilzes a thermal element consisting of a material whose electrical resistance varies with temperature.
RF Telemetry
Abbreviation of Radio Frequency Telemetry.
Rockoon
A high-altitude sounding system consisting of a small solid-propellant research rocket carried aloft and launched by a large balloon.
Scanning Electron Microscope
A type of electron microscope that images a sample by scanning it with a high-energy beam of electrons in a raster scan pattern.
Secondary Electron Imaging
Production of secondary electrons is very topography related. Any changes in topography in the sample that are larger than this sampling depth will change the yield of secondaries due to collection efficiencies.
Sferics Receiver
An instrument which measures, electronically, the direction of arrival, intensity, and rate of occurrence of atmospherics.
Shore Durometer
Durometer is typically used as a measure of hardness in polymers, elastomers and rubbers.
Single Ended Input
Analog measurements in which the input′s voltage is measured with respect to ground.
Sonobuoy
An instrument designed to receive sound energy underwater and transmit a corresponding signal in the atmosphere at radio frequencies.
Sound Level Meter
Device used to measure sound pressure level.
Sounding Rocket
A rocket that carries aloft equipment for making observations of or from the upper atmosphere.
Stadimeter
An instrument for determining the distance to an object of know dimension by measuring the angle subtended at the observer by the object.
Stilling Well
A cylinder installed near a body of water is used to hold and protect hydrological sensors.
Strain Gauge
A sensor that experiences a change in resistance when it is stretched or strained.
Strain Gauge Pressure Transducer
A device measuring changes in electrical resistance in response to pressure changes on a diaphragm with an embedded or engraved strain gauge.
Surface Roughness Measurement
There are many different measurement techniques for measuring surface roughness and these are first broken into 4 main categories.
Synchroscope
A meter that indicates the relative phase angle between an incoming set voltage and the bus voltage.
Tachometer
An instrument that measures the rate at which a shaft is turning.
Telemetry
Communications between remote sources by wire, radio, or other means.
Telescope
Instrument used to focus electromagnetic radiation into an image.
Test Cell
A cubicle or room designed for the testing or a system or component.
Test Equipment
A general term applied to devices used to test electrical and electronic circuits.
Theodolite
A theodolite is an instrument used in surveying for measuring horizontal and vertical angles.
Thermal Conductivity Gauge
A pressure gauge consisting of a heated surface. The heat transported by the gas molecules from the surface is related to gas pressure.
Thermocouple Meter Movement
A meter movement that uses the current induced in a thermocouple by the heating of a resistive element to measure the current in a circuit; used to measure ac or dc.
Thread Micrometer
A micrometer in which the spindle is ground to a point having a conical angle of 60 degrees.
Total Indicated Reading
The full indicator reading observed when a dial indicator is in contact with the part surface during one full revolution of the part about its axis of rotation.
Total Indicator Runout
The full indicator reading observed when a dial indicator is in contact with the part surface during one full revolution of the part about its axis of rotation.
Transmission Electron Microscope
A microscope that produces an image by using electron beams to pass through the specimen, making examination of internal features at high magnifications possible.
Transponder
A miniature receiver-transmitter that can be tracked by a radio-direction finder.
Tuning Fork
A small two-pronged steel instrument which when struck produces a fixed tone.
Turn Error
Any error in gyro output due to cross-coupling and acceleration encountered during vehicle turns.
Tyre Pressure Gauge
An instrument for measuring air pressure in a tyre.
Vacuum Gauge
An instrument for measuring pressure below atmospheric pressure.
Vacuum Test Chamber
A pressure vessel, typically spherical or cylindrical, that can be pumped down to a near vacuum.
Variometer
An instrument for comparing magnetic forces, especially of the earth′s magnetic field.
Velocimeter
A continuous-wave reflection Doppler system used to measure the radial velocity of an object.
Vibrating Wire
A sensor that monitors pressure by measuring the change in resonant frequency of a pre-tensioned wire in response to pressure or force changes.
Virtual Instrumentation
A layer of software and/or hardware added to a general-purpose computer in such a fashion that users can interact with the computer as though it was their own custom-designed traditional electronic instrument.
Wave-Meter
An instrument for measuring the frequency of a radio wave.
Wind Vane
A sensor used to measure wind direction.
Wire Link Telemetry
Telemetry in which no radio link is used.
Zero Offset
The output of a sensor at zero input for a specified supply voltage or current.
Zymoscope
An apparatus used for determining the fermenting power of yeast by measuring the amount of carbonic acid produced from a given quantity of sugar.

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