Lab Journal

Calipers? Is that a type of bug?

June 29, 2010 by Karla

No. A caliper is a device used to measure the distance between two opposing sides of an object.  We used them to measure tree trunks and balloons!

How do you make a caliper?
You can make a caliper out of almost any material you want. You can make it from cardboard, paper, foam, wood, or even from an old tire you have. In order to decide on the material, you need to know what you are measuring. You can’t imagine how useful calipers can be! You can measure the width or diameter of almost anything you want no matter how big or how small.

Why did we measure tree trunks?
Well, we needed to calculate the amount of carbon dioxide a tree can intake. In order to do this, you need the tree type and its trunk diameter. The trees we measured were at Humboldt Park, in an eight block radius. It was a big place with a lot of trees so we made three calipers in different shapes.

One of the calipers was built in an “F” shape; the other two were built in an “O” or a” U” shape. The materials we used were cardboard, foam, and an old tire. We then used tape, string and some zip ties. The calipers we made could measure trees with diameters of up to 50 inches. They looked cool and interesting.  Needless to say, they grabbed people’s attention while walking in the Humboldt Park area. It was fun carrying the big calipers around, but the most fun part was building them as a team.


posted by Yekeen
October 02, 2012, 12:11pm

I will make you answer your quoisten yourself by describing to you how a sliding and a fixed caliper works.Remember that the brake rotor which is connected to the wheel is acted upon by two brake pads, one on each side. In a BMW just like most cars, there is only one piston that pushes one brake pad. So the whole caliper moves/floats/self-adjusts so that both brake pads can act on the rotor and stop the car.In cars with fixed calipers there are pistons on both sides of the calipers.Some even have 2 pistons on each side. So the calipers do not need to self-adjust.Obviously, the ones with more pistons costs more and are very slightly better in braking power. But being more complex and with more components they are also more prone to break down and costlier to maintain.So did BMW try to save some money? Answer it yourself.

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