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I am looking for a word that describes the class of (lab-)instruments whose primary purpose is to force a physical quantity onto something. This should be different from instruments whose primary purpose is to measure a physical quantity. (Many instruments which can force a physical quantity can also measure it, this is why I only classify by the primary purpose)

Examples members of this class could be:

  • A Power supply applies a voltage to an electrical node.

  • An Electronic Load draws a constant current out of an electrical node.

  • A Thermal chamber forces a temperature to the environment a thing sits in.

  • A centrifuge applies a centripetal force to a thing.

I thought of "Measurement Instrument" but for me that sounds to specific to instruments that measure something. I also thought about "Source" or "SourcingInstrument", but that sounds too electrical engineering specific (plus "Source" doesn't really fit to the Electronic Load example, as Loads sink a current instead of sourcing a current). Best that I could come up with is "ForcingInstrument". But maybe someone has a better suggestion.

Intended use

In Software development, to name the parent/interface class for those kinds of instruments.

Example usage

"Physical quantities can be measured by classes that implement the MeasurementInstrument interface and can be forced by classes that implement the Interface. Classes can implement both the MeasurementInstrument as well as the Interface, if they can measure and force a physical quantity."


Edit

I gave a pretty abstract description, here is some clarification:

With physical quantity I meant basically any physically measurable condition. Pretty much how wikipedia defines it:

A physical quantity is a physical property of a phenomenon, body, or substance, that can be quantified by measurement.[1] A physical quantity can be expressed as the combination of a magnitude expressed by a number – usually a real number – and a unit; for example, 1.6749275×10−27 kg (the mass of the neutron)

-- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physical_quantity

A more specific example would be: "A Power supply is used to apply a Voltage of 5 V to a circuit node." Here 5 V would be the physical quantity of type "Voltage".

  • Could you elaborate on the exact intention of the application? I think you need to be more context-specific than your current examples and suggestions are. However, your question formatting and supplication of examples and intentions is commendable! :) – Flater Jul 17 '17 at 12:39
  • Mainly, I find your use of "physical quantity" and "forcing a quantity" a bit vague. Could you either be more specific, or provide a real example of such a quantity? A quantity, by semantic definition, is nothing more than a number, which is an abstract concept. A physical quantity almost sounds like an oxymoron. – Flater Jul 17 '17 at 12:41
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    (sorry for the spam) Given your very vague definitions, I'm liable to refer to these two types as getters (reading) and setters (what you call forcing). Although they are already established terms in a software development context, they fit the bill almost exactly for the definitions you've supplied. – Flater Jul 17 '17 at 12:48
  • I tried to clarify what I mean by physical quantity and tried to give a more specific example. – Stefan D. Jul 17 '17 at 13:19
  • Actually I think Setter and Getter is the best I heard so far. Its so obvious. Another word that came to my mind is Controller – Stefan D. Jul 17 '17 at 13:21
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I am adding my comment as an answer, as per your feedback of it being applicable.

Given your very vague definitions, I'm liable to refer to these two types as getters (reading) and setters (what you call forcing). Although they are already established terms in a software development context, they fit the bill almost exactly for the definitions you've supplied.


Further explanation

To make sure non-developers understand the answer too.

A getter is a method that gets the value of a specific property.

In other words, if you want to retrieve a value, you "talk" to the getter of this value.

A setter is a method that sets the value of a specific property.

In other words, if you want to change a value, you "talk" to the setter of this value (and give it the new value).

Linked reference for definitions.. Although this page focuses on Javascript, these terms are well defined in software development in general.

protected by tchrist Jul 19 '17 at 13:23

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