The Optical Micrometer & Displacement

At Warren Knight, we’ve been designing and building optical instruments for more than a century. Among the many instruments on our website, you will find high-quality optical micrometers, which can be used to measure horizontal or vertical line displacement. Here’s a quick look at displacement and some facts about our micrometers and how they can be used.

Many people mistakenly believe that distance and displacement are the same. After all, Merriam-Webster lists the definition of displacement as “the difference between the initial position of something and any later position.” That certainly sounds like distance, but distance basically refers to the amount of space covered while displacement is a comparison of where something was initially and where it ended up, which isn’t always the same thing.

For instance, let’s say a person draws a chalk square on a sidewalk and each side of the square is three feet in length. We will mark each edge of the square with a letter as points A, B, C & D. If a person walks from point A to point B, the distance and displacement are the same – 3 feet. However, if a person walks from point A all the way around the square back to A again, the distance would be 12 feet and the displacement would be 0 feet. Of course, you may ask why this is so. The answer is simple, if something starts and ends at the same point, it has not been displaced but it has covered a certain distance.

But what does this have to do with optical micrometers? An optical micrometer measures this displacement, which can be handy in many situations. Micrometers are used by many types of engineers as well as scientists to determine displacement. For instance, if you are calibrating an instrument, you might begin by checking for displacement. If you are measuring changes in a rock formation, you will look at its displacement.

Our optical micrometers can be placed on a telescope barrel or adapted to fit tools such as transits, levels or theodolites, depending on your needs. The micrometers also are available in single axis or dual axis. We also have other helpful tools that incorporate a micrometer. Our WK-51-2200 Spherical Micrometer Alignment Telescope includes two micrometers to allow for precise measurements in two directions perpendicular to the line of site. If you need an alignment telescope without a micrometer, we also carry those as well.

Aside from the optical micrometer, we sell many other types of optical tooling instruments. This includes alignment collimators, theodolites, vertical transits, boresights, magnetic mirrors, dioptometers and much more. We also sell many types of clinometers, leveling equipment, navigation equipment, boresights and surveying equipment. Keep in mind, if the specifications of our optical micrometers or other optical tools don’t quite suit your needs, we usually can provide you with a custom design so if you don’t find exactly what you need, give us a call today.

Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *