Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

A General Technique for Calibrating Indicating Instruments



R White, M T. Clarkson


A method for calibrating indicating instruments that exploits the combinatorial properties of a set of different-valued, and mostly uncalibrated, artefacts is described. The paper presents the underlying principles of the method, its limitations, and examples of the application of the method to mass balances, optical detectors, and resistance bridges. The method is applicable to indicating instruments that measure rational quantities and for which it is possible to combine artefacts with negligible error. For direct-reading instruments, at least one of the artefacts should be calibrated. For ratio-indicating instruments, none of the artefacts need be calibrated. It is shown that for artefacts that can be combined linearly, a binary sequence generally comes close to maximising the number of combinations available.


calibration, least squares minimization, linear combinations, linearity, mass balance, optical detectors, resistance bridges


White, R. and Clarkson, M. (2008), A General Technique for Calibrating Indicating Instruments, Metrologia (Accessed July 18, 2024)


If you have any questions about this publication or are having problems accessing it, please contact

Created October 16, 2008