AFMETCAL - Air Force Primary Standards Laboratory
Published July 22, 2016
The AFPSL is the highest echelon metrology and calibration laboratory in the Air Force. It provides a critical link between the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and Air Force Base Precision Measurement Equipment Laboratories (PMELs) and houses a measurement capability in practically every measurement discipline with a precision and accuracy unequalled in the Air Force. The AFPSL complex consists of laboratories with rigid environmental controls necessary for precise measurements. Approximately one-half of the AFPSL is underground, extending four floors below the surface. The massive concrete walls and floor enclosing this area provide excellent vibration dampening, ideal for a laboratory required to perform precise measurements.
The AFPSL consists of unique facilities and equipment and includes capabilities in many measurement disciplines:
The Optics Laboratory measures the contour of flat and curved surfaces up to a resolution of one millionth of an inch.
A Dimensional Laboratory calibrates standards of length, roundness, flatness, surface finish, and inside and outside diameter to accuracies as high as one millionth of an inch.
The Angle Measurement Laboratory calibrates standards and instruments for the precise measurement of optical angles to sub-arc second accuracy. These devices are used to align targeting and guidance systems.
The Geophysical Laboratory, with its high degree of seismic isolation (down to the 10 nano-g level), can test ultra-sensitive accelerometers, seismic meters, and other components requiring a controlled, low-level seismic environment. This is one of the most stable seismic environments in the country.
The Mass Laboratory has the latest state-of-the-art equipment to support mass measurements throughout the Air Force. Accurate mass measurements are vital to support force and pressure measurements.
An Electromechanical Laboratory provides the foundation for safety of flight parameters such as pneumatic and hydraulic pressure, vacuum, humidity, and gas flow. The pressure lab calibrates standards that support in-flight air data measurements to the best accuracies possible.
The Vibration Laboratory calibrates accelerometers and velocity pickups. The primary work load is the Piezoelectric Accelerometer, which is used to measure the vibration of aircraft engines and other machinery.
The Temperature Laboratory calibrates thermometers. The primary work load is the Standard Platinum Resistance Thermometer (SPRT).
A Force Laboratory calibrates force devices up to 100,000 pounds of force. Force measurements are vital to support engine testing and aircraft weighing operations.
The Acoustics Laboratory calibrates AF Base Reference Standard Microphones using the reciprocity method to meet critical human health requirements.
The Electrical Standards Laboratory makes highly accurate measurements of direct and alternating voltage, resistance, capacitance, inductance, fast risetime, current, magnetism, voltage ratio, and time and frequency.
The Microwave Standards Laboratory measures power, impedance, attenuation, phase noise, and radio frequency noise. Specialized measurements involving VHF Omni Range (VOR), instrument landing systems, power density, network analysis, and modulation are also made.
The RADIAC Laboratory is a completely shielded, regulation conforming, 12,000 square foot building, specifically designed to house the RADIAC program. It enhances the AFPSL's calibration support of the nuclear aspects of the Air Force mission. These areas include Disaster Preparedness functions, Non-destructive Inspection (NDI), and Medical and Health Physics Activities.
The Laser Standards Laboratories houses a complete set of primary standards (calorimeters) for measuring laser power and energy over a broad range of power levels (billionths of a watt to 200,000 watts) and wavelengths.
The IR Standards Laboratories support numerous IR weapons systems (missile seekers, night vision systems, IR sensors) through the calibration and measurement of IR sources (blackbodies), detectors, radiometers and spectral components such as filters and windows.
The Fiber Optics Laboratory maintains the standards that assure the quality of fiber optic test equipment used to maintain fiber optic based systems, principally communications systems.