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# How do you read a Vernier caliper?

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A Vernier caliper is read by looking at aligned tick marks that read centimeters, millimeters and tenths of a millimeter on a sliding scale, according to the Southern Methodist University Department of Physics. The error of a Vernier caliper is 0.05 millimeters.

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The main scale of a Vernier caliper is the reading that is to the left of zero on the tenth of a millimeter sliding scale. Then, the next reading is taken by the closest congruent line. If the 0.08 centimeter line is most closely aligned to another line on the scale below it, the final reading includes 0.08 centimeter. The tenth of a millimeter line is read by alignment only, no matter what the millimeter reading is below it. If no line exactly matches up, the closest one is taken, and the reading is then approximated.

One common mistake occurs when someone tries to read the closest line to zero, rather than the one to the left of the zero line. Another possible mistake happens when someone finalizes the tenths of a millimeter mark on a Vernier caliper. These readings are made by rounding to the nearest mark as if there was no such precision with the instrument.

A Vernier caliper measures diameters and widths of objects between two jaws that close tightly on objects. The tighter the calipers, the more precise the measurements.

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## Related Questions

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A Vernier height gauge is a caliper on a sliding scale attached to a base block so that the jaws can make accurate measurements over or under surfaces, and it is read by subtracting the height of the lower caliper from the height of the higher with notation at every point to make comparison easy. These gauges are useful in many construction and measurement tasks.

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A vernier caliper can measure external and internal dimensions, and many measure depth as well. Vernier calipers have a fixed scale and a moving scale in two units: Imperial (inches) and millimeters. Typically the bottom half provides external measurements using a fixed point and a moving second point. Internal dimension points are located on the top half, and the sliding portion often includes a rod for depth measurement. Along the sliding portion are additional scales to help measure fraction or decimals to an accuracy of within 1/128 inch or 0.05 mm.

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Lock Haven University describes the micrometer caliper as a metric instrument with a pair of jaws, one of which is movable, and a main scale calibrated to one-half millimeter. It has a thimble section consisting of a rotating handle with a circumference marked with 50 equal subdivisions. Zero the caliper, and position its jaws around the object to be measured. Then use the main and thimble scales in conjunction to check the precise measurement./

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According to Reference.com, industrial-level vernier calipers usually provide a precision to one thousandth of an inch. In metric units, the precision is to a hundredth of a millimeter, or 10 micrometers.