INTRODUCTION OF MEASUREMENT AND INSTRUMENTATION :
Measurement techniques have been of immense importance ever since the start of human civilization, when measurements were first needed to regulate the transfer of goods in barter trade in order to ensure that exchanges were fair. The industrial revolution during the 19th century brought about a rapid development of new instruments and measurement techniques to satisfy the needs of industrialized production techniques.
Since that time, there has been a large and rapid growth in new industrial technology. This has been particularly evident during the last part of the 20th century because of the many developments in electronics in general and computers in particular. In turn, this has required a parallel growth in new instruments and measurement techniques.
The massive growth in the application of computers to industrial process control and monitoring tasks has greatly expanded the requirement for instruments to measure, record, and control process variables. As modern production techniques dictate working to ever tighter accuracy limits, and as economic forces to reduce production costs become more severe, so the requirement for instruments to be both accurate and inexpensive becomes ever harder to satisfy.
This latter problem is at the focal point of the research and development efforts of all instrument manufacturers. In the past few years, the most cost-effective means of improving instrument accuracy has been found in many cases to be the inclusion of digital computing power within instruments themselves. These intelligent instruments therefore feature prominently in current instrument manufacturers’ catalogues.
This opening chapter covers some fundamental aspects of measurement. First, we look at how standard measurement units have evolved from the early units used in barter trade to the more exact units belonging to the Imperial and metric measurement systems. We then go on to study the major considerations in designing a measurement system. Finally, we look at some of the main applications of measurement systems.
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