NIST's Million Pounds-Force Deadweight Machine is a mechanism used to calibrate force sensors -- particularly, sensors that measure extremely large forces, such as those created by a rocket or jet engine.
This animation explores the anatomy of the device, from its three-story stack of stainless steel discs to the hydraulic equipment that lifts and lowers the million pounds of steel, and walks the viewer through a sample calibration of a customer's force sensor.
Built in 1965, the Million Pounds-Force (equivalent to 4.45 million newtons) Deadweight Machine is the largest in the world. In 2015 and 2016, it was restored for the first time in fifty years, and went back online in June 2016.
Customers who rely on this unique device include US aerospace manufacturers, US military laboratories, and several top-end commercial force calibration labs, which have performed hundreds or thousands of calibrations, all directly traceable to NIST.