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Primary Calibration of Accelerometers by Optical Methods, NIST and USAF



Beverly F. Payne, Jerry Steffen


This paper describes ongoing efforts to provide high quality calibration of accelerometers by NIST for military and civilian labs. Traditionally the approach is the calibration of reference accelerometers by NIST for labs requiring calibrations with the lowest possible uncertainty. The NIST calibrated accelerometers are then used to calibrate accelerometers in the various labs by comparison with the NIST calibrated reference. This paper describes another approach by equipping the Air Force primary metrology lab, Heath, OH with a NIST designed calibration system for accelerometers. The system uses optical methods with a laser interferometer to obtain calibrations by primary methods based on ISO standards. The object of this project is to equip the AF lab with a user friendly system of the same type used at NIST and thereby make possible inter-comparisons of reference accelerometers between the two labs. Having an in-house primary facility, may reduce the number of calibrations needed to be performed by NIST each year for the AF lab. This paper describes the systems in place at NIST and AFMETCAL as well as data showing results of inter comparison of accelerometers at the two labs.
Proceedings Title
Proceedings of SAVIAC 81st Annual Shock & Vibration Symposium
Conference Dates
October 25-29, 2010
Conference Location
Orlando, FL
Conference Title
SAVIAC 81st Annual Shock & Vibration Symposium, Orlando, FL


accelerometer, calibration, interferometer, lasers, uncertainty
Created April 1, 2011, Updated February 19, 2017