Realising traceable electrostatic forces despite non-linear balance motion

Julian Stirling, Gordon A Shaw

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Direct realisation of force, traceable to fundamental constants via electromagnetic balances, is a key goal of the proposed redefinition of the international system of units (SI). This will allow small force metrology to be performed using an electrostatic force balance (EFB) rather than subdivision of larger forces. Such a balance uses the electrostatic force across a capacitor to balance an external force. In this paper we model the capacitance of a concentric cylinder EFB design as a function of the displacement of its free electrode, accounting for the arcuate motion produced by parallelogram linkages commonly used in EFB mechanisms. From this model we suggest new fitting procedures to reduce uncertainties arising from non-linear motion as well as methods to identify misalignment of the mechanism. Experimental studies on both a test capacitor and the NIST EFB validate the model.
Original languageEnglish
Article number055003
Number of pages1
JournalMeasurement Science and Technology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 3 Mar 2017


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