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.

Traceable Force Metrology for Micronewton Level Calibration



Jon R. Pratt, Richard Seugling


The research presented in this abstract concerns the calibration and implementation of a prototype secondary force standard to disseminate the SI (Syst?me International d''unit?s) unit of force ranging from 5.0 mN to 5.0 mN. The elastic-force measuring device under consideration combines an elastic member packaged between two outer electrodes providing a capacitance-based load detection scheme. Transfer standards of this nature are primarily envisaged for use as a means of calibrating probe force apparatus such as instrumented indention machines, but may also be utilized for mechanisms like coordinate measuring machine scanning probes. The unit of force is derived from mass (kg) and acceleration (mxs-2), generally due to gravity, which is traceable to SI units through the definitions of mass, length and time. However, SI traceability through conventional mechanical units is difficult to achieve at forces smaller than micronewtons, primarily due to the uncertainties of mass artifacts at milligram levels, among other more practical difficulties including sample preparation, contamination and handling. Alternative approaches for establishing traceable small force standards are currently under investigation at NIST [], PTB [] and NPL [], though such approaches are outside the scope of methods considered here.
Proceedings Title
Proceedings of the American Society for Precision Engineering 19th Annual Meeting
Conference Dates
October 24-29, 2004
Conference Location
Orlando, FL, USA
Conference Title
American Society for Precision Engineering 19th Annual Meeting


calibration, metrology, small force, traceable


Pratt, J. and Seugling, R. (2004), Traceable Force Metrology for Micronewton Level Calibration, Proceedings of the American Society for Precision Engineering 19th Annual Meeting, Orlando, FL, USA (Accessed July 21, 2024)


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

Created September 30, 2004, Updated October 12, 2021