Learn about the importance of metrology in our daily lives

18 February 2021

Metrology, and its various activities, are involved in most aspects of our daily commercial, economic, industrial, environmental and health life.

Metrology is the science of measurement and its application, including experimental and theoretical determinations, with any level of uncertainty, and in any field of science and technology.

Measurement technology is used in scientific and technical fields of experimental determination, of quantifiable sizes, provides parameters to engineering, among other things, as well as data to evaluate the properties of technical devices and installations, such as their correct functioning or their reliability and quality.

For the fulfillment of its tasks, measurement technology makes use of some special areas of mathematics, error calculation, probability calculation and statistics.

Based on the above, official and informal, approved and authorized means, methods, tools and bodies must be available to ensure the correct functioning of these tools.

It is also necessary to know and reduce their errors, in order to achieve accurate results, which allow us to make the right decisions in various fields.

That is why, throughout history, people have been interested in finding and developing means, tools and measuring devices, which help them to facilitate and manage their lives in various fields.

In this article we will learn about the importance of metrology and its development in history.

Ancient civilizations were interested in the subject of measurement, to ensure transparency in business dealings, in addition to the need to build temples and huge structures.

The ancient Egyptians used different measuring devices, in the field of lengths, which allowed them to build pyramids, tombs and huge structures, which are still standing to this day. 

For this reason, the Egyptians are known as the fathers of modern engineering.

In Roman times, volumetric devices were used and were called amphorae, which are equivalent to one cubic foot and approximately contain about 26 liters. 

As for the Arabs, in the pre-Islamic era, units of measurement began to be used on physical bases, and there was a strong difference between the people of the pre-Islamic era. 

Later, with the introduction of a large number of foreign tribes into Islam, this difference and inaccuracy in the scales caused a great controversy, as each tribe wanted to maintain its traditional methods of measurement.

For this reason, Islam asked to find new and accurate methods of measurement suitable for all tribes, and to stop using traditional Arabic methods.

The human need to use scales appeared from the beginning of civilizations, and their quantities varied from one city to another.

When people began to exchange goods between countries, the appearance of coins was a matter of great difficulty in negotiations.

This problem continued until the French initiative, during the reign of King Louis XVI. At the end of the 17th century, measurement methods were agreed internationally, determining the length of a meter, the standard meter, which is a platinum bar, and the standard kilogram, which is a platinum cylinder, and other measurements.

With the aim of unifying methods, means and systems of measurement between countries, at that time, it was agreed to sign the meter agreement in 1875, and this agreement resulted in the establishment of the International Bureau of Weights (BIPM), based in France.

One of the most important responsibilities of this bureau is to maintain international standards, especially the international kilogram of platinum at 90% and iridium at 10%.

The International Bureau is working on preparing copies and delivering them to interested countries, to compare all blocks in that country and to achieve serialization of their reference standards.

With the development of technology, and the beginning of the globalization era, it has become a great challenge between industrialized and developing countries to standardize measurement systems, to facilitate the processes of commercial exchange between countries.

To conclude, metrology is the history in which we developed the discipline to define the way we take measurements and standardize units and devices, so that measurements between spaces or continents mean the same thing.

When considering how metrology affects our daily lives, one wonders: What is the importance of metrology?

The definitions and standardization created by metrology have driven industrial advances that have enabled the production and assembly of manufacturing projects at scales and subtleties we would not have dared to dream of hundreds of years ago.

But they have also had a very direct impact on our daily lives. Gasoline is sold in standard units. We know how many of these units our car’s tank can hold.

We know how far we have traveled since we last refueled, and we have a gauge in the car that shows how much gas is left.

While modern high-end metrology is used to push the accuracy and definitions of your devices, below the limit of visibility, even the simplest measuring instrument in your home is a piece of metrology equipment, when it comes to the three basic components: unit, measurement and comparison.