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Physics
Electrical Engineering
Measuring Tools

What is a micrometer?

Answer

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January 05, 2011 8:49PM

There are 2 things that can be called a micrometer:

1/ A device for measuring short distances accurately. Typically to better than 1 thousands of an inch (thou) or 0.01mm. They look a bit like a small G clamp, something is placed between the jaws and it is lightly tightened, the thread has a gauge on it so you can see how big the thing between the jaws is.

2/ A very small distance, 1 millionth of a meter. Also written μm. (Or sometimes um.)

Additional Information

The above answer needs to be qualified. In fact, the above answer only applies to American English. In British English,

1. A micrometer is an instrument for measuring small thicknesses or diameters, as per answer 1, above.

2. The unit of measure is called a micrometre.

In other words, in British English, a meter is a measuring instrument, whereas a metre is a unit of measurement.