The purpose of this study is to find a significant accelerometer accuracy criterion for measuring transients, and to apply it to the investigation of optimum damping and the range of frequency response required. It is proposed that the effect of instrument distortions on the response spectrum of a transient be used to evaluate the acceptability of the measurement. The application of this response-spectrum criterion to some selected acceleration pulses indicates that the optimum instrument damping for a transient measurement is essentially the same as for the measurement of periodic motions and that the accelerometer period should be less than 0.4 of the pulse duration for 5 per cent accuracy. A reasonable generalization of the results to more complex transients is made.

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