helps baby food makers and other food processors measure
the exact amounts of fat, protein, vitamins, and calories
in their products, so food labels are correct.
a car is kind of like a puzzle with 15,000 different pieces
that have to fit together just right. NIST helps car part
makers measure parts very accurately so that even when they're
made in different places, the parts fit perfectly.
is a measure of how forcefully electricity travels. If the
water pressure in your pipes is too low, your shower won't
work well. If the voltage in your home's electrical lines
is too low, your toast won't toast. All measures of electrical
voltage in the United States are determined through NIST
researchers study the way sofas, dressers, beds, and mattresses
burn so furniture makers can build products that are less
likely to catch fire.
has the most accurate clock in the United States! Our clock
helps keep the official time for our country and the world.
Businesses, banks, and communication and navigation systems
set their clocks by ours. To see the current time, select
your time zone from the map on this web site http://nist.time.gov
develops standards for measuring electricity. These standards
are used to make sure many electrical instruments work properly,
including pocket computer games and the electric meter that
determines your electric bill.
In 1974, NIST developed and recommended the first standards
and guidelines for smoke detector use. Over the next 25
years, smoke detector use in U.S. homes grew from 10 percent
to 95 percent, and fire deaths dropped by 50 percent.
refrigerator contains lots of fluids: milk, juices, sodas,
and iced tea, for example. There's a completely different
kind of fluid inside your refrigerator's machinery to keep
these drinks cold. Until a few years ago, this mechanical
fluid was harmful to the environment if it somehow leaked
out. NIST helped refrigerator manufacturers find safer cooling
fluids, so all new refrigerators are more environmentally-friendly.
fires are especially dangerous at night when people are
sleeping. In 1971, the U.S. government started requiring
manufacturers to make children's pajamas out of fabric that
did not catch fire easily. NIST helped develop the tests
used evaluate fire safety of children's pajamas.
NIST next time you enjoy some freshly baked cookies! Thermostats
in your stove contain sensors that measure temperature.
The sensor manufacturers rely on NIST to make sure their
devices are accurate. That means that the actual temperature
of the oven is very close to the temperature indicated on
the dial of the oven, and your cookies won't burn or be
that make drugs need very accurate scales to weigh the ingredients
for our medicines. NIST has the most accurate mass standards
in the country. These standards are used by instrument makers
to ensure their scales weigh things accurately. NIST also
makes measurement standards for the instruments that test
the quality of our medicines.
at NIST in the 1960s can be credited with bringing shoulder
harness restraints to your car's seat belts. NIST investigations
helped improve the reliability of crash dummy tests and
supported the need for shoulder harnesses.
is everywhere--behind walls, around hot water heaters, and
in grocery trucks. It saves energy by keeping hot things
hot and cold things cold. Some kinds of insulation can harm
the Earth's atmosphere. NIST is studying new kinds of insulation
that might work better and not harm the environment. NIST
helps industry figure out how well insulation does its job.
computers are so lightweight they can go almost anywhere.
Even so, their thin, flip-up screens can be more difficult
to read than the large monitors that come with desktop computers
due to brighter lighting than you would find at your desktop.
NIST works on ways to measure the sharpness, brightness,
and color on laptop computers and other kinds of displays.
energy is such a precious resource, the U.S. Department
of Energy requires that makers of microwave ovens, and other
kitchen appliances, tell how much energy their products
consume. NIST tested microwave ovens to see how much energy
they use. Now the microwave makers use NIST-backed test
methods to test their products.
you know that when you talk to a friend on the telephone,
your voice may be transmitted over a very long glass fiber
that's thinner than a single hair? These tiny fibers can
send voice signals, pictures, email, and even movies much
faster than old copper wires. NIST makes a standard that
helps align these fibers so your phone call goes through
the 1970s, NIST worked with television broadcasters to develop
a system for transmitting captions with TV shows. The resulting
closed captioning system for the deaf and hearing impaired
won an Emmy Award in 1980.
built one of the very first computers in the United States
in the late 1940's. Though slow and clunky by our standards,
it was an amazing machine and produced many computing firsts.
For example, NIST used it to make the first computerized
scan of a photograph in 1957. NIST has been helping the
computer industry ever since, especially with the development
of ways to measure these incredibly tiny circuits.
every last drop of our milk! And NIST helps make sure you
get every drop you pay for by working with milk bottlers
and government inspectors on accurate filling of milk containers.
NIST shows both inspectors and milk bottlers how to measure
how much milk is actually in school lunch milk cartons to
within tenths of an ounce.
on your favorite radio station can be really annoying. Back
in the 1920s, when radio was a new technology, static and
poor reception were a big problem. NIST helped broadcasters
send clearer signals by developing standard signals, which
we call frequency standards. To this day, NIST frequency
standards help keep radio, television, and cell phone signals
live without water, so it's very important that we keep
our water clean and safe to drink. How do we know it's clean?
Labs check water samples to see if they contain harmful
chemicals. NIST makes special samples of water for labs
to see if their measurements are correct.
allow us to take great-sounding music almost anywhere. CD
players read a compact disc with tiny lasers. NIST measurements
have helped manufacturers produce lasers reliable enough
give us great sounding music from CD players.
you ask for a pound of sliced turkey, how do you know you're
getting a pound? Scales in stores are checked by state inspectors.
State inspectors have their scales checked by NIST.
thousands of different sized light bulbs for stadium lights,
flashlights, runway lights, and dashboard lights. All these
light bulbs have to give off just the right amount of light
for their job. NIST has standards that light bulb manufacturers
use to make sure their products give off the right amount
you never thought apple leaves could be used as a ruler!
Well, NIST used the leaves of apple trees from orchards
in Pennsylvania to make a chemical ruler. This ruler lets
scientists measure different kinds of chemical elements
in our food very accurately.