The National Measurement Institute’s (NMI) mass and density measurement services are the most accurate in Australia. We provide services to Australian laboratories, universities, government and industry. We specialise in calibrating reference-grade sets of weights and density hydrometers with the lowest uncertainties possible.
We deliver our client services in our Lindfield laboratory, which is accredited by the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA). We deliver some services on-site at our clients’ laboratories and facilities around Australia.
Our services include:
- calibrating and testing reference sets of weights and hydrometers
- consultancy services including precision measurement, research and development
- training courses in instrument calibrations and measurement
- maintaining the national standards for mass and density
We provide trade measurement calibration services to clients who need accurate measurements for trade measurement, quality assurance and legal purposes.
We calibrate instruments that measure mass and density. This includes standards used by laboratories accredited by the NATA accredited laboratories to calibrate their clients’ instruments. Our calibrations are the most accurate in Australia because we develop and maintain the national standards.
Measurements made with instruments we calibrate provide results traceable to the standards we maintain. This means the results provide international traceability to the Bureau International des Poids et Mesures (BIPM).
Instruments we calibrate
- reference sets of weights between 0.5 mg and 20 kg
- industrial reference sets of weights up to 6 tonnes
- glass density hydrometers
- pressure hydrometers for use in liquefied petroleum gas (LPG)
- custom-built instruments for reference use
We don’t calibrate density hydrometers made of metal. This is because metal hydrometers can’t consistently deliver results with accuracy corresponding to our capabilities.
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Mass and density capabilities
We provide comprehensive mass and density capability data to NATA, as part of the accreditation process. The International Organization of Legal Metrology (OIML) defines our weight classes in OIML International Recommendation 111. For more information about our capabilities see our scope of accreditation on the NATA website.
Calibrating and testing weights
We calibrate sets of weights. Weights submitted to us must meet minimum conditions. The material, construction, finish and general condition must ensure its values don’t change in ambient atmospheric conditions. Weights must:
- be austenitic stainless steel, nickel-chromium alloy, or other non-magnetic and stable materials
- integral, i.e. consisting of a single piece of material
- have smooth surfaces and corners (a high polish is not essential)
- be well maintained, in good condition and not liable to chemical attack
We don’t accept weights lacquered or plated with brass or bronze.
- 0.5 ppm for weights of stainless steel, nickel-chromium alloy and other materials with density between 7500 and 8500 kg/m3
- 5 micrograms for weights of platinum or gold up to a total value of 1 g
- 1.5 micrograms for aluminium weights up to a total of 0.1 g
Calibrating and testing hydrometers
We calibrate glass hydrometers for general use on five points across the scale range. We deliver results up to 1/5 of a scale division for hydrometers with 5 point scales.
Glass hydrometers must have a sensitivity greater than type M100. The Australian Standards describe these as AS 2026 Density Hydrometer. They must have a serial number and a scale. The scale can list density graduations, specific gravity units, or another recognised scale. These are Brix, Baume, API or percentage alcohol by volume.
We measure the density of liquid and solid samples. Solid samples must be non-porous, and not liable to chemical attack. Our density measurement capabilities are:
- 1 part in 103 for solid specimens between 5 cm3, under 250 g
- 3 parts in 105 for solid specimens below 5 cm3 and / or above 250 g
- 5 parts in 105 for liquid samples
Typical turnaround times
We liaise with clients to meet their schedule requirements wherever possible, including urgent requirements. Our timeframes depend on the volume of work we have at the time, and the instrument’s complexity or size.
- 1 day to 2 weeks to calibrate or measure
- 2 weeks to 2 months wait time, from booking to calibration
- 1 to 2 weeks to complete the calibration report
Indicative calibration costs
Our calibrations are for clients who need the highest accuracy possible. This includes other laboratories accredited by NATA. Most NATA accredited laboratories provide results traceable to the standards we maintain. They can deliver results with uncertainties that meet the needs of most clients in Australia, at more competitive rates.
We customise our service to meet each client’s unique needs, for each instrument. Our costs reflect the time, detail and depth of the service we provide. See our mass and density client services price list for indicative fees and charges.
Request a quote for calibration.
We customise our consultancy services to suit each client’s needs. We work with clients to understand their mass or density measurement needs and provide:
- precision measurement
- technical advice on calibration or precision measurement issues
- consultancy for testing, research and benchmark studies
- contract research and development for short-term or long-term projects
- advice for product development, measurement integrity and quality assurance
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We design and deliver bespoke training programs for clients. This is separate to our established training and assessment programs in trade measurement, calibrations and measurement. Our bespoke training programs can involve training teams to:
- use customised or purpose-built precision mass and density measurement instruments
- understand traceability and measurement uncertainty, specific to mass and density
- maintain a quality system
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