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Ames Balance Calibration Lab
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NASA Ames Balance Calibration Services

Balance Calibrations

The lab calibrates balances for both internal and external tests. The calibration process includes proper balance selection, formulating the calibration load schedule, calibration loading, calibration matrix determination and accuracy evaluation. Ames can offer both single gage and machine combined loading.
To request a calibration Submit a Request.

Balance Electrical and Taper Checks

The Balance Calibration Lab conducts electrical checks to determine the health of a balance before and after every use. We record the no-load balance output and bridge resistance for each gage. Taper mounted balances require good contact between the balance and support system matting surfaces. We determine the percent of contact using the fluorescent oil technique.

Borrowing a NASA Ames Balance (Outside Ames)

NASA Ames Balances may be loaned out for US government sponsored tests. In a loan situation, the requestor takes full financial responsibly for the balance and all associated hardware. The requestor is required to sign a contract agreeing to these terms. Management will determine the final approval and terms of the loan. Approval will depend upon the availability of the requested balance(s).

A sample Loan Letter that states the Contract Terms is show below. You can download this sample Loan Letter in a MS Word Document. Any Loan Letter must contain the information included in the following sample.

If a calibration is also required by Ames Balance Calibration Lab, submit a Balance Calibration Request Form. To request an Ames balance loan, submit a loan letter.

Sample of a Loan Letter:

5 July 2012

xxxxx xxxxxxx
Ames Supersonics Project

Mr. Francis J. Kmak
Chief, Wind Tunnel Division
MS 227-5
NASA Ames Research Center
Moffett Field, CA 94035

Subject: REQUEST FOR LOAN OF NASA Ames 1.00 inch MK14C strain-gauge Balance

1. Request

The NASA Supersonics Project requests the loan of the NASA Ames 1.00 inch MK14C 6-component internal strain-gauge balance, its related check loading hardware, and a dummy balance for the Boeing Sonic Boom Test in the GRC 8x6 Wind Tunnel. The loan period shall be from 5 July 2012 through 17 September 2012. This balance will be used as the Primary Test Balance.

2. Financial Liability

The NASA Supersonics Project accepts responsibility for repairing or replacing the balance and associated equipment should damage occur while in our possession (this includes all mechanical and electrical aspects of the balance including the taper and outer sleeve). The Supersonics Project understands the replacement cost of a balance is approximately $250K and refurbishment costs vary widely depending on the damage (e.g. cable repairs/replacements can be $2K or greater, flexure replacements can be $20K or more, and full recalibrations of balance after repairs are made can be in the order of $25k).

3. Items Requested

Balance -The balance to be loaned shall be the Ames 1.00" diameter MK14C 6- component internal strain-gauge balance equipped with a 29-foot, permanently attached cable terminated in taper pins. Each balance bridge is wired with four wires (a pair for excitation and a pair for signal) - there are no independent sense lines. Also, all four thermocouples are not working. The balance was last calibrated at Triumph in March 2008. The calibration assumes the excitation sense is made at the taper pins.

Check Load Hardware - The check load hardware associated with the 1.00" MK14C balance will also be part of the loan. This will consist of a 1.00" calibration body, roll arms, related fasteners, and a balance-to-calibration-body roll pin.

Dummy Balance - The loaned hardware will also include one #6672 dummy balance.

4. Static and Dynamic Loading Limits

The balance loads will be monitored so as not to violate a theoretical-infinite-life criterion for the balance by limiting the static and dynamic loads to values determined by the Ames-provided Modified Goodman diagram for the 1.00" MKI4C balance.

5. Objective Evidence of the State of the Balance

Ames shall supply "as shipped" mechanical and electrical inspection report sheet with the balance. The Supersonics Project shall supply to NASA Ames similar "as shipped" mechanical and electrical inspection report sheet upon the return of the balance.

The balance and associated equipment is to be shipped to:

The NASA Supersonics Project point of contact is:

xxxxx xxxxxxx
Ames Supersonics Project


Mr. Francis J. Kmak
Chief, Wind Tunnel Division



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Page Last Updated: December 30th, 2013
Page Editor: NASA Administrator