Ampere balance

# Ampere balance

Discussion

Encyclopedia
The ampere balance is an electromechanical apparatus used for the precise
Accuracy and precision
In the fields of science, engineering, industry and statistics, the accuracy of a measurement system is the degree of closeness of measurements of a quantity to that quantity's actual value. The precision of a measurement system, also called reproducibility or repeatability, is the degree to which...

measurement of the SI
Si
Si, si, or SI may refer to :- Measurement, mathematics and science :* International System of Units , the modern international standard version of the metric system...

unit of electric current
Electric current
Electric current is a flow of electric charge through a medium.This charge is typically carried by moving electrons in a conductor such as wire...

, the ampere
Ampere
The ampere , often shortened to amp, is the SI unit of electric current and is one of the seven SI base units. It is named after André-Marie Ampère , French mathematician and physicist, considered the father of electrodynamics...

. It was invented by William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin
William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin
William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin OM, GCVO, PC, PRS, PRSE, was a mathematical physicist and engineer. At the University of Glasgow he did important work in the mathematical analysis of electricity and formulation of the first and second laws of thermodynamics, and did much to unify the emerging...

.

The current to be measured is passed in series through two coils of wire, one of which is attached to one arm of a sensitive balance
Weighing scale
A weighing scale is a measuring instrument for determining the weight or mass of an object. A spring scale measures weight by the distance a spring deflects under its load...

. The magnetic force between the two coils is measured by the amount of weight needed on the other arm of the balance to keep it in equilibrium. This is used to calculate the magnitude of the current.

The main weakness of the ampere balance is that the calculation of the current involves the dimensions of the coils. So the accuracy of the current measurement is limited by the accuracy with which the coils can be measured, and their mechanical rigidity. An improved apparatus called the watt balance
Watt balance
The watt balance is an experimental electromechanical weight measuring instrument that measures the weight of a test object very precisely by the strength of an electric current and a voltage. It is being developed as a metrological instrument that may one day provide a definition of the kilogram...

sidesteps this problem and is now used instead.

## Usage

Approximate readings may be obtained by reading the position of the weight on the scale, or a more accurate reading may be obtained as follows: The upper edge of the shelf on which the weights slide is graduated into equal divisions, and the weight is provided with a sharp tongue of metal in order that its position on the shelf may be accurately determined. Since the current passing through the balance when equilibrium is obtained with a given weight is proportional to the square root
Square root
In mathematics, a square root of a number x is a number r such that r2 = x, or, in other words, a number r whose square is x...

of the couple due to this weight, it follows that the current strength when equilibrium is obtained is proportional to the product of the square root of the weight used and the square root and the displacement distance of this weight from its zero position. Each instrument is accompanied by a pair of weights and by a square root table, so that the product of the square roots of the number corresponding to the position of the sliding weight and the ascertained constant for each weight, gives at once the value of the current in amperes. Each of these balances is made to cover a certain range of reading. Thus the centi-ampere balance ranges from 1 to 100 centi-amperes, the deci-ampere balance from 1 to 100 deci-amperes, the ampere balance from 1 to 100 amperes, etc.