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Australian Government: National Measurement InstituteAustralian Government: National Measurement Institute
National Measurement Institute

Low Frequency Electrical and Magnetic Quantities Research

NMI is responsible for maintaining and disseminating Australia's standards of voltage (the volt) at dc and ac, resistance and current at ac, power (the watt) and energy (the joule).

A number of research and development activities are being undertaken to develop improved standards for comparing voltage at dc and ac, to develop novel current shunts for comparing resistance at dc and ac, to establish a new standard for power and energy at mains power frequency, and to upgrade Australia's standard of voltage.

Thermal Voltage Converters (TVCs)

NMI is undertaking an independent determination of ac-dc differences of its thermal voltage converters at frequencies up to 1 MHz. This is achieved in two stages. First, several primary TVCs rated at 1 to 4 V are studied to obtain their ac-dc transfer difference corrections at the lowest attainable level of uncertainty. Then these corrections are passed to three sets of working TVCs in the range from 0.5 to 1000 V through stepup and stepdown processes.

NMI primary TVCs are not of a calculable type and, therefore, their high-frequency ac-dc differences cannot be obtained theoretically with required accuracy. However, a simple and effective procedure has been devised allowing direct measurement of the significant error components of a particular TVC. As a result, 1 s uncertainties of 8 µV/V at 1 MHz have been claimed.

NMI has taken part in the following key comparisons of ac-dc transfer: CCEM-K6a, CCEM-K6c, CCEM-K9.

  • I Budovsky and BD Inglis (2001) High-frequency AC-DC Differences of NML Single-junction Thermal Voltage Converters. IEEE Trans. Instrum. Meas. 50(1), 101–105

Standards for Power and Energy Measurement in the Range of Frequencies from 40 Hz to 200 kHz

There are several instruments on the market capable of accurate power measurements at frequencies of 200 kHz and higher. The aim of this project is to provide traceability for these instruments and to establish a second power and energy standard at mains power frequencies that could be intercompared with the NMI Double Power Bridge. The new standard is based on a thermal principle. The thermal power comparator can relate the product of two 1 V ac signals that are proportional to voltage and current in the instrument under test to a product of two known dc voltages. The method used in the power comparator helps to reduce many errors that are associated with the comparison. Most of the errors of the standard are associated with the scaling devices, resistive voltage divider and shunts. These errors are presently under investigation.

  • I Budovsky, AM Gibbes and DC Arthur (1999) A high-frequency thermal power comparator. IEEE Trans. Instrum. Meas. 48(2), 427–430
  • I Budovsky, AM Gibbes and GM Hammond (2000) Voltage divider characterisation at frequencies up to 200 kHz. CPEM2000 Digest, 662–663

Manufacture of Precision Electrical Measurement Equipment

NMI develops and manufactures unique measurement equipment to realise its electrical measurement standards and to provide high-accuracy calibration and testing services. This equipment is also available to the Australian industry and to national metrology institutes around the world.

  • PBA-1S Precision Buffer Amplier
    • I Budovsky, AM Gibbes and DC Arthur (1999) A high-frequency thermal power comparator. IEEE Trans. Instrum. Meas., 48(2), 427–430
    • I Budovsky and T Hagen (2010) A precision buffer amplifier for low-frequency metrology applications. in CPEM 2010 Digest, 28–29
  • Precision 1000 V Inductive Voltage Divide
    • GW Small, IF Budovsky, AM Gibbes, and JR Fiander (2005) Precision Three-Stage 1000 V/50 Hz Inductive Voltage Divider. IEEE Trans. Instrum. Meas., 54(2), 600–603
    • IF Budovsky, GW Small, AM Gibbes and JR Fiander (2004) Calibration of 1000V/ 50 Hz inductive voltage dividers and ratio transformers, in CPEM 2004 Digest, 322–323
    • HL Johnson, R Xie (2011) A young person's guide to Thompson's method for the precise measurement of voltage ratio, in Metrology Society of Australia Proceedings of the Ninth Biennial Conference, Melbourne, 93–100
  • Precision Multi-range Current Transformer
    • I Budovsky, T Hagen, F Emms,  HL Johnson, L Marais and V Balakrishnan (2014) Precision multi-range current transformer for the automation of electrical power standards, in Proc. CPEM 2014 Rio de Janeiro, 412–413
  • Precision Current Shunts
    • I Budovsky, AM Gibbes and DC Arthur (1999) A high-frequency thermal power comparator. IEEE Trans. Instrum. Meas., 48(2), 427–430
    • I Budovsky (2007) Measurement of Phase Angle Errors of Precision Current Shunts in the Frequency Range From 40 Hz to 200 kHz, IEEE Trans. Instrum. Meas., 56(2), 284–288
  • CCS-4S Computer Controlled Switch for AC-DC Transfer Measurement Systems