# Page:EB1911 - Volume 05.djvu/15

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4
CALIBRATION

consideration. The most convenient arrangement on the decimal system for purposes of calibration is to have the units, tens, hundreds, &c., arranged in groups of four adjusted in the proportion of the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4. The relative values of the weights in each group of four can then be determined by substitution independently of the others, and the total of each group of four, making ten times the unit of the group, can be compared with the smallest weight in the group above. This gives a sufficient number of equations to determine the errors of all the weights by the method of substitution in a very simple manner. A number of other equations can be obtained by combining the different groups in other ways, and the whole system of equations may then be solved by the method of least squares; but the equations so obtained are not all of equal value, and it may be doubted whether any real advantage is gained in many cases by the multiplication of comparisons, since it is not possible in this manner to eliminate constant errors or personal equation, which are generally aggravated by prolonging the observations. A common arrangement of the weights in each group on the decimal system is 5, 2, 1, 1, or 5, 2, 2, 1. These do not admit of the independent calibration of each group by substitution. The arrangement 5, 2, 1, 1, 1, or 5, 2, 2, 1, 1, permits independent calibration, but involves a larger number of weights and observations than the 1, 2, 3, 4, grouping. The arrangement of ten equal weights in each group, which is adopted in “dial” resistance-boxes, and in some forms of chemical balances where the weights are mechanically applied by turning a handle, presents great advantages in point of quickness of manipulation and ease of numeration, but the complete calibration of such an arrangement is tedious, and in the case of a resistance-box it is difficult to make the necessary connexions. In all cases where the same total can be made up in a variety of ways, it is necessary in accurate work to make sure that the same weights are always used for a given combination, or else to record the actual weights used on each occasion. In many investigations where time enters as one of the factors, this is a serious drawback, and it is better to avoid the more complicated arrangements. The accurate adjustment of a set of weights is so simple a matter that it is often possible to neglect the errors of a well-made set, and no calibration is of any value without the most scrupulous attention to details of manipulation, and particularly to the correction for the air displaced in comparing weights of different materials. Electrical resistances are much more difficult to adjust owing to the change of resistance with temperature, and the calibration of a resistance-box can seldom be neglected on account of the changes of resistance which are liable to occur after adjustment from imperfect annealing. It is also necessary to remember that the order of accuracy required, and the actual values of the smaller resistances, depend to some extent on the method of connexion, and that the box must be calibrated with due regard to the conditions under which it is to be used. Otherwise the method of procedure is much the same as in the case of a box of weights, but it is necessary to pay more attention to the constancy and uniformity of the temperature conditions of the observing-room.

Method of Equal Steps.—In calibrating a continuous scale divided into a number of divisions of equal length, such as a metre scale divided in millimetres, or a thermometer tube divided in degrees of temperature, or an electrical slide-wire, it is usual to proceed by a method of equal steps. The simplest method is that known as the method of Gay Lussac in the calibration of mercurial thermometers or tubes of small bore. It is essentially a method of substitution employing a column of mercury of constant volume as the gauge for comparing the capacities of different parts of the tube. A precisely similar method, employing a pair of microscopes at a fixed distance apart as a standard of length, is applicable to the calibration of a divided scale. The interval to be calibrated is divided into a whole number of equal steps or sections, the points of division at which the corrections are to be determined are called points of calibration.

 No. of Step. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Ends of thread.${\left.{\begin{matrix}\ \\\ \end{matrix}}\right\}\,}$ ${\left\{{\begin{matrix}\ \\\ \end{matrix}}\right.}$ +.010 −.016 −.020 −.031 0.016 +.008 +.013 +.017 +.004 −.088 +.038 +.017 −.003 −.022 +.010 +.005 0.033 +.018 +.013 −.003 Excess length. –.028 –.033 –.017 –.009 0.006 –.003 –.020 –.001 –.004 +.005 Error of step. –17.6 –22.6 –6.6 +1.4 16.4 +7.4 –9.6 +9.4 +6.4 +15.4 Correction. +17.6 +40.2 +46.8 +45.4 29 +21.6 +31.2 +21.8 +15.4 0 