Understanding a NIST Traceable Calibration
During a calibration, the performance and accuracy of a measuring instrument or device is tested against a higher accuracy lab standard. The standard is an instrument with a relationship to a standard reference material (SRM) provided by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. To prove this relationship, the standard has a certificate of compliance with measurement traceability to an SI unit through NIST, another national measurement institute (NMI), or natural physical constant.
The traceability of a calibration lab’s standard, essentially its relationship to the SRM, is established through an unbroken trail of documentation that must include measurement uncertainties. Following testing that’s performed against the standard, the calibration lab will issue an accredited calibration certificate to document the test results. This certificate verifies that the tested instrument is within – or has been adjusted to – its stated tolerance. The calibration certificate provided by a lab or a manufacturer has an expiration date, which is the date another calibration will be needed. For more information about our accreditation and traceability, visit our Accreditation Resource Page.
What Does NIST Do?