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how do you lift a million pounds of stainless steel? very carefully
There is a pile of stainless steel, weighing up to million.
This is part of a unique machine built in 1965 and has just been renovated for the first time.
In the world of metrology, this giant is the source of national pride.
\"It\'s well-known in itself because it\'s the world\'s largest such machine,\" said Rick severth of the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, Maryland.
Seifarth pointed out that in Germany, the next largest is only half powerful.
\"This is one of the main reasons for fixing and renovating this matter.
\"Why does anyone need the stainless steel for the pounds?
\"The question of fairness,\" said Seifarth . \".
It turns out that building anything
From skyscrapers to medical equipment to planes.
This requires understanding how materials react to forces, he said, and this NIST lab is dedicated to accurate measurement of forces.
You may recall from the physics class that force is just a push or pull.
\"Anyone can think of this: Put your palms together.
This is the compression force, \"said Seifarth.
He then connected his fingers together and showed the way to try to separate the hands: \"It\'s a tension.
\"NIST\'s machines use millions of pounds.
Generate millions of pounds of power.
\"You know, we\'re all driving,\" Seifarth said . \".
\"Every bit of steel in that car is measured by its ability to withstand certain forces.
\"The control room of this machine looks like it was built 50 years ago --with old-
Vintage Green console with knobs and switches.
Seifarth fiddled with them and the red pointer of the dial began to move.
The numbers on the dial are as high as millions.
\"We have just applied 50,000 pounds of the force to it, and now we are close to 100,000 pounds of the force,\" he said . \".
This force is applied to a metal device opposite the room, in which the machine can crush or stretch anything inside.
Now, the inside looks like a crouching paint can.
This is a device that measures force and requires calibration.
This is what this machine does for customers like aerospace companies or the military.
Or someone else who needs to measure the power precisely.
Right below this control room, in a pit on a three-story floor, is a stainless steel heavy object.
The weights are disks that look about 10 feet wide and they are arranged in one stack.
They are connected together, a bit like a chain.
So when the machines pick them up, they hang them straight in the air.
\"Think about the size of the bathroom,\" said Seifarth . \".
\"We step on the scale, and the scale is registered because our body has a force on the scale --
Gravity pulled us down.
The same thing happened to this big machine.
It pulls down what we put in the lab upstairs.
\"Then, when the calibration work is completed, the machine will carefully reduce the steel weight to the floor.
\"When they sit down, you hear this low rumbling --
\"It\'s like a bull elephant,\" Seifarth said . \".
Some of these heavy objects have been slightly damaged over the years, which is why Seifarth and his team have recently done repairs.
This means taking the machine apart for the first time.
It took a year and a half to repair the work, nerve --
He was worried that they would ruin things accidentally.
Fortunately, the people who built it hid extra parts and special wrenches --
These tools have been in use for half a century.
\"These cabinets are full of things.
\"It\'s like a time capsule,\" Seifarth said . \". The million-
Earlier this month, the pound heavy machine had just restarted and was busy working on the backlog of tasks from eager customers.
Everything is settled now, says Seifarth, \"it could last another 50 years.