What is Metrology? Its Importance and Types (PDF)

The word “metrology” originated from two Greek words, “Metron” meaning measurement, and “Logos” meaning study. So, metrology is the scientific study of measurement. It includes all theoretical and practical approaches to measurements. Metrology is fundamental to all scientific fields of study including biological, engineering, medicine, and physical and environmental sciences. Because of this, the demand for metrology is ever-growing. In this article, we will learn about the types and importance of metrology. Let’s start with the definition.

What is Metrology?

Metrology is the science of measurement. For any scientific and technological advancement of mankind, correct measurement is essential. Metrology is applicable in all aspects of like business, manufacturing, trading, economic prosperity, scientific research, and many others.

Types of Metrology

There are broadly three types of metrology. They are:

  • Scientific Metrology,
  • Industrial Metrology, and
  • Legal Metrology.

Scientific Metrology

This is the most fundamental metrology that establishes the unit system, units of measurement, and quantity systems. Scientific metrology defines the standards to provide a definite magnitude of any physical quantity. The main activities of scientific metrology are as follows:

  • Establishment of an internationally accepted framework for units of measurement.
  • Effective adoption of these units in an economy.
  • Dissemination of state-of-the-art measurement standards within the economy to users in government, science, technology, industry, and society.

Scientific Metrology is supported by the Bureau International des Poids et Measures (BIPM), an intergovernmental organization in which the Member States cooperate on issues of metrology and metrology standards.

Industrial Metrology

Industrial Metrology is also popular by the name Applied Metrology. It covers the calibration, maintenance, and quality control of measurement instruments used for industrial application and their use in society, ensuring the suitability of measuring instruments. Proper measurement is critical in the industry as it affects the value and quality of the final product.

Although the focus of this field of metrology is on the measurement itself, traceability of gauge calibration is required to ensure measurement reliability. Recognition of metrology competence in the industry can be achieved through mutual recognition agreements, accreditation, or peer review. Industrial metrology is important to a country’s economic and industrial development, and the status of a country’s industrial metrology program can indicate its economic status.

Legal Metrology

Legal metrology is concerned with ensuring the accuracy of measurements that affect trade transparency, law enforcement, health, safety, and the environment. Legal metrology ensures that measurements and measuring equipment comply with laws and regulations. Its activities protect traders, consumers, public safety, and the environment and are essential to fair trade.

Legal metrology deals with measurements and measuring equipment used for trade or official control.
The role of legal metrology includes:

  • Law establishment for measurement instruments.
  • Supervising and enforcing the law.
  • Providing a legal traceability system.

Importance of Metrology

Metrology is very important in all day-to-day tasks as it provides some quantitative information on the actual state of physical variables and processes. Metrology as an engineering or scientific discipline has got its real engineering momentum during the industrial revolution. In all scientific, commercial, industrial, and human aspects, the role of metrology is proven. Some of the engineering fields where metrology is widely used are:

  • Energy,
  • Communications,
  • Medical sciences,
  • Environment,
  • Trade,
  • Food sciences,
  • Transportation,
  • Engineering Design,
  • Military applications, and so on.

The main importance of metrology can be summarized as follows:

  • Metrology drives the standardization of industrial and manufacturing processes.
  • Accurate measuring technology ensures product quality. Proper measurements are essential to ensure quality products. Clear dimensions and tolerances in engineering drawings ensure perfect product manufacturing without wasting time.
  • Today’s automatic machines are tuned and programmed according to specific parameters to produce goods on production lines. Machines can measure volume, length, weight, time, environmental conditions, and more. The accuracy and precision of these measurements are critical to meeting safety and quality requirements for public use or consumption.
  • Metrology promotes fair trade by implementing agreed systems of measurement. This has a positive effect on the economy through the globalization of trade.
  • Various institutions may calibrate universal units of measurement. This removes technical barriers that can hinder scientific research and technological progress.
  • Metrology protects the health of the environment and population by specifying methods and units of measurement for certain parameters. This keeps the readings within acceptable limits. Correct dosing of medicines, measurement of radiation, food safety, and traffic safety are all determined by metrology.
  • By measuring every transaction, metrology helps budget each project.
  • Measurement technology in the petrochemical industry plays an increasingly important role as the demand for more energy increases. The industry relies on metrology to keep machines running.
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Anup Kumar Dey

A Mechanical Engineer with 19 years of working experience in various renowned MNCs.

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