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5916 Mass Metrology Seminar

OWM training icon in form of SI wheel
Credit: OWM/K. Dill

Course Description

The Mass Metrology Seminar is a two-week, "hands-on" seminar.  It incorporates approximately 30 percent lectures and 70 percent demonstrations and laboratory work in which the participant performs measurements by applying procedures and equations discussed in the classroom.  The seminar focuses on the comprehension and application of the procedures, the equations, and calculations involved.  The seminar includes the operation of the laboratory equipment, review of publications, standards, specifications, and tolerances relevant to the measurements.  Training covers mass calibration procedures published in NISTIR 6969 and NISTIR 5672 and are suitable for the calibration of mass standards to OIML R111 Class E2 through M3 tolerances, ASTM classes 1 through 7 and NIST HB 105-1 Class F.  Training is provided to enable the participant to correctly identify and implement the correct calibration process for each weight classification.  Each procedure and the entire seminar incorporates concepts covered in the Fundamentals of Metrology seminar, especially, concepts related to metrological traceability, statistical analysis, measurement assurance methods, uncertainty analyses, software validation, and generation of ISO/IEC 17025 compliant calibration certificates for all measurements made during the seminar.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this seminar, using Standard Operating Procedures 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 29, 30, and 34 and Good Measurement Practices 10, 11, 12, and 13 participants will be able to:

  • IDENTIFY mass artifacts and use appropriate procedures to ensure good quality, accurate, traceable mass measurement results;
  • EXPLAIN highlights and key concepts of each topic to each other and to your managers using the slides and reference materials; and
  • PERFORM mass calibration procedures, use and validate the job aids, and use reference materials to perform laboratory calibrations, including hands-on handling of mass standards and balances, calculation of measurement results, integration of measurement assurance, uncertainty analysis, and software validation to produce valid calibration results and certificates.

Note regarding course level and expectations:  This course is conducted equivalent to a university-level course and is part of our IACET-accredited processes with requirements to demonstrate successful achievement of learning objectives within each module.  Significant time outside of the classroom and laboratory is expected and is commonly reported (1 hour to 2 hours per day) to complete homework, reading, data entry, and creation and editing of calibration certificates. Students should avoid trying to meet other obligations while attending this course as much as possible.

Materials & Supplies

Participants are encouraged to bring template versions of the mass calibration certificates issued by their laboratory as a starting point for the calibration certificates to be submitted during the seminar. Alternatively, participants should bring the calibration certificate they generated during the Fundamentals of Metrology seminar as a starting point. The former is recommended! Feedback and suggested changes to ensure ISO/IEC 17025 compliance will be provided during the seminar. Generation of calibration certificates will be required, so come prepared. A number of notebooks and course materials will be provided, so please ensure you have extra luggage space to carry these items.


Successful completion of the Fundamentals of Metrology Seminar is a prerequisite for the Mass Metrology Seminar. The Mass Metrology Seminar is built on the concepts learned during the Fundamentals of Metrology Seminar, applying units, measurement uncertainty, measurement assurance, traceability, and Quality Management System concepts to the mass calibration procedures.


It is strongly recommended that you complete the Basic Mass Metrology CD as it will give you a head start on the Mass Seminar, including exposure to the contents of NISTIR 6969, Selected Laboratory and Measurement Practices, and NISTIR 5672, Advanced Mass Calibrations and Measurements Assurance Program for the State Calibration Laboratories. Completing the NIST SP 1001 should take 16 to 40 hours. Participants are encouraged to read and comprehend as much as possible the content of NISTIR 6969 and NISTIR 5672 regardless of completing NIST SP 1001.

NOTE:  Additional reading pre-work and Excel preparation recommendations may be sent by the instructor prior to the seminar. Extensive use of Excel is made in this course; strong familiarity with equation entry and validation is essential.


Laboratory Auditing Program (LAP) problems are assigned at the completion of the course to those metrologists who participate in the NIST OWM State Laboratory Program.  Acceptable completion of the problems is required for NIST Office of Weights and Measures Laboratory Recognition in support of mass calibrations.  (See Handbook 143, Program Handbook training requirements as updated here.

Minimum Requirements

To receive a Training Certificate for this course, successful completion requires participants to actively participate in the entire course (e.g., 100 % attendance, take notes, engage in discussions, ask questions), complete all classroom, homework, and application exercise assignments, successfully perform mass calibrations as evidenced by measurement results entered in course control charts and calibration certificates, and pass a written final exam.  In addition, students submit a series of calibration certificates that are graded based on SOP 1 and NIST SP 811 criteria, as evidence of completion of all application exercises conducted during the hands-on portion of class exercises.

*Homework note: students generally report taking one to two hours for homework each night.


This training seminar is open to industry and government metrologists.


The current registration fee for this seminar is $6,200 and confirmed participants will be sent payment instructions.  This registration fee does not cover travel, lodging, or meal costs.  Registration fees for State weights and measures regulatory officials and metrologists are funded by NIST OWM.


Elizabeth Koncki and Mark Ruefenacht
Email: elizabeth.koncki [at] (elizabeth[dot]koncki[at]nist[dot]gov)

Technology Requirements

  • Registered participants must provide a notebook computer for the Mass Metrology Seminar and be well trained in the development and use of spreadsheets for complex repetitive calculations.
  • Participants must have access to Microsoft Excel (versions 2010 and later are acceptable) and can open and effectively create their own spreadsheets to perform calculations, and use template Excel workbooks that will be provided on USB media.  Be aware that for networked access of Microsoft files, access to the NIST network is not ensured (e.g., it can be problematic if using a version of Office 365 that requires network access to operate properly.) 
  • Participants must have administrative rights for the computer so that that files can be transferred to and from it as required by the seminar exercises through the use of USB memory sticks:  You must also be able to save/store files to USB media devices to facilitate printing and turning in classwork.  Internet and network access is not assured during the seminar.  Students without administrative approvals or ability to use USB media are encouraged to contact the instructor before the class to discuss alternatives (e.g., using a personal laptop, using a RW/CD,  or other alternatives.)   Students need to verify the capability to run executable files to ensure successful access and use of the software needed in this course.  If not able to use USB media, participants must be able to upload files to a secure NIST Box and/or Google Drive and/or Microsoft SharePoint data transfer cloud service.
  • Availability of a scientific calculator (minimum 12 digits) may be useful as a supplement to Excel; if using a calculator, familiarity with its operation is essential.
Created March 27, 2024, Updated June 5, 2024