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Bridge Measurement Analysis

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Instrumentation and Control Applications

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.271.1 - 8.271.7



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Paper Authors

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Andrew Koffman

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Bryan Waltrip

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Svetlana Avramov-Zamurovic

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Bridge Measurement Analysis Svetlana Avramov-Zamurovic1, Bryan Waltrip2 and Andrew Koffman2 1 United States Naval Academy, Weapons and Systems Engineering Department Annapolis, MD 21402, Telephone: 410 293 6124 Email:

2 National Institute of Standards and Technology†, Electricity Division Gaithersburg, MD 21899. Telephone: 301 975 2438, Email:


At the United States Academy there are several engineering majors, including Systems Engineering. This program offers excellent systems integration education. In particular the major concentrates on control of electrical, computer and mechanical systems. In addition to several tracks, students have the opportunity to independently research a field of interest. This is a great opportunity for teachers and students to pursue more in-depth analyses. This paper will describe one such experiment in the field of metrology.

Very often engineering laboratories at undergraduate schools are well equipped with power supplies, signal generators, oscilloscopes and general-purpose multimeters. This set allows teachers and students to set up test-beds for most of the basic electronics circuits studied in different engineering tracks. Modern instrumentation is in general user-friendly and students like using the equipment. However, students are often not aware that there are two pieces of information necessary to establish a measurement result: the numerical value of the measured quantity and the uncertainty with which that measurement was performed. In order to achieve high measurement accuracy, more complex measurement systems must be developed. This paper will describe the process of analyzing a bridge measurement using MATLAB‡.

Measurement Bridge

One of the basic circuits that demonstrate the concept of a current/voltage divider is a Wheatstone bridge (given in Figure 1.) A source voltage is applied to a parallel connection of impedances. The source current is divided into a branch with impedances Z1 and Z 2 and a branch with impedances Z3 and Z4. The current flows through the detector when the bridge is not balanced. In order for the student to understand the relationship between the current through the detector and the other elements in the bridge, it is beneficial to calculate the current through the detector. Electrical circuit analysis may be performed using symbolic functions in MATLAB.

† Electricity Division, Electronics and Electrical Engineering Laboratory, Technology Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce. Official contribution of the National Institute of Standards and Technology; not subject to copyright in the United States. ‡ In order to describe the procedures discussed in this paper, commercial products are identified. In no case does such identification imply recommendation or endorsement by the National Institute of Standards and Technology or that the materials or equipment specified are necessarily the best available for the purpose.

Koffman, A., & Waltrip, B., & Avramov-Zamurovic, S. (2003, June), Bridge Measurement Analysis Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--11962

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