Metrology Glossary – M

At J.A. King, we strive to educate our team and our customers so we can all make informed decisions and improve quality. Having information at our fingertips is the best way to do that. We have compiled a list of the most common terminology within the precision measurement industry, backed by our experts with years within our industry.

Precision Measurement Glossary of Terms

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Magnetic Separator

A process in which magnetically susceptible material is extracted from a mixture using a magnetic force


Differential pressure gauge used for measuring very low pressures. The gauge can be digital, but is often constructed using a U-shaped tube containing mercury or water.


Rough measure of the number of atoms in an object. The SI standard unit of mass is the kilogram.

Mass Comparator

A device used to compare ultra accurate units of mass for certification purposes. Often houses a weighing chamber fully enclosed in multiple draft shields.


A type of Ohmeter designed to measure high resistance values, typically used to measure the resistance of insulators.

Melting Point

The temperature at which a solid will melt into a liquid

Metal Detector (Industrial)

An electronic device which controls a mechanism on a production line that will remove items containing metal from production. Often used in food or pharmaceutical packaging plants to ensure products are not contaminated with metal in the packaging process.

Metal Film Resistor

An axial-type resistor which uses a metal film deposited on a non-conductive material (usually ceramic) as a resistive element.

Metal Oxide Varistor (MOV)

A discrete electrical component which acts as a surge suppressor by shunting excess voltage to the ground or neutral line.


The science and study of measurement, establishing common understanding of units, practice of measurement, and traceability.


A high temperature (1200°F) thermal insulation material, often used to coat wires designed for use in high temperature environments.

Micro (µ)

In the SI measurement system, indicates one millionth (0.000001) of a unit of measure. For example, 1 microamp (µA) is equal to 0.000001 Amps.


A gauge that measures distances between its two faces, one of which can be moved away from or toward the other by turning a screw with a fine thread.


An instrument used for seeing objects and observing organisms too small to be seen by the naked eye.

Microvolts Per Graduation

Number of microvolts the load cell must send to increment the display by one division.

Milli (m)

In the SI measurement system, indicates one thousandth (0.001) of a unit of measure. For example, 1 milliamp (mA) is equal to 0.001 Amps.

Mineral Insulated

A term used to express a swaged or drawn thermocouple construction where a mineral oxide insulation, usually magnesium oxide or aluminum oxide, is densely compacted in a sheath for rugged bendable high temperature, sensor construction.

Minimum Dead Load (Load Cells)

NTEP standards dictating that the minimum load on each cell must be greater than the specified minimum dead load.

Minimum Weight (Counting Scales)

Typically used in counting scales, this refers to the minimum weight the individual pieces being measured must weigh.

Mirror Scale

Analog meter scale with a mirror arc that enables alignment of the eye’s line of sight perpendicular to the scale when taking a reading. Reduces parallax error and considerably improves reading accuracy.

Moisture Analyzer

Device which determines the moisture content of a sample with the loss-on-drying method and consists of a weighing system and heating unit. The analyzer weighs a material, then heats the pan for a period of time, then weighs the material again to determine the loss of mass due to evaporation of moisture during the heating cycle.

Most Significant Digit (MSD)

Leftmost digit of a number string which represents the largest incremental value in the string. For example, in the number 2476.341, the 2 is the MSD.

Motion Band

In a scale with motion detection, the motion band sets the level in display divisions that motion is detected. If motion is not detected for a period of time (usually 1 second), the standstill annunciator lights.

Motion Detection

A circuit that indicates when the measured weight is fluctuating and prohibits certain properties of the scale like Tare, Zero, and Print while the scale is in motion.

Mueller Bridge

A four-wire lead compensated Bridge used for laboratory calibration of RTDs (accuracies in the milliohm region).


Any of a variety of electronic tools used to measure voltage, amps, resistance, capacitance, and other parameters in electrical circuits. Manufacturers of multimeters vary the design to meet the needs of the intended user, so one meter may have features that are significant in the automotive repair environment where another meter may have functions allowing it to detect logic highs and lows for an electronics repair technician.


A switching technique which allows different input (or output) signals to use the same lines at different times, controlled by an external signal. Multiplexing is used to save on wiring and I/O ports.

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