What is Metrology?

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Blog Post
August 18, 2020

Podcast:
What is Metrology, and Why Does it Matter?

This podcast features discussions with Jack Clark, Senior Principal Scientist at Woodward Inc., and Dr. Chris Evans, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Director of the Center for Precision Metrology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

An essential aspect for those in the field of surface metrology (or looking to become a part of it) is entertaining different perspectives and transferring acquired knowledge to others who can benefit from it. This not only broadens our understanding, but highlights the importance of metrology, and the role it plays in modern manufacturing.

ZYGO's new podcast series, "Metrology Matters," will address various surface metrology topics by inviting influential guests from academia and industry to present their views on the impact of surface metrology today, and going forward.

So, the question "What is metrology?" is an important first question to ponder as one begins an understanding of the field, and one that mechanical engineering students should stop to ask.

Jack Clark, Senior Principal Scientist at Woodward, and Chris Evans, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Director of the Center for Precision Metrology, said the answer isn't easy, but understanding what metrology is can open many doors.

"By definition, metrology is the science of measurement, but it's also, I think, foundational to many things from fundamental research – without the science of measurement, we never would've been able to recently prove that gravity waves exist," Evans said. "It's foundational to us being able to have this conversation. Without metrology, the semiconductor industry would absolutely not function. It's a foundational to commerce. If you don't have internationally agreed standards on what length is – what volume is – you can't make components that will fit together."

Despite so much being built upon metrology, there is currently little attention being paid to it by many educators, even in some of the nation's top engineering schools. Partnerships with companies can be critical for students to begin understanding that aspect of the engineering and design world.

"They generally have little knowledge of (metrology)," Clark said of students doing internships or projects with companies like Woodward. "If they're involved in any kind of design when they're introduced to the company, if they're involved in any troubleshooting, they may be brought into remanufacturing in the company."

"They have to start understanding what the metrology role is in all those different things and how it is different when you start looking at all the aspects of manufacturing and remanufacturing parts."


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