Scientists develop new primary method for measurement of pressure


PTB researcher Christof Gaiser at PTB’s dielectric-constant gas thermometer, which is utilized to determine capacitance. Credit: PTB

Scientists from the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) have actually carried out an unique pressure measurement method, partially as a by-product of the deal with the “new” kelvin. In addition to being new, this treatment is a primary method, i.e. it just depends upon natural constants. As an independent method, it can be utilized to examine the most precise pressure evaluates, for which PTB is called the world leader.


Checking such instruments was previously possible in the variety of as much as 100,000 pascals just; now 7 million pascals are possible. A contrast in between mechanical and electrical pressure measurements has actually therefore been performed for the very first time with a relative unpredictability of less than 5 × 10-6. Additionally, this new method provides special possibilities to examine helium—a crucial design system for the principles of physics. The scientists have actually reported their operate in the existing problem of Nature Physics.

Have you ever been stepped on by an individual using stilettos? If you recognize with this kind of discomfort, you might have currently thought about that pressure represents a force per system of surface area, or, to be more exact, that it is the outcome of a force used vertically onto a surface area. This is likewise the concept according to which the most precise techniques of pressure measurement work. When utilizing a pressure balance, you determine the pressure of the gas under a piston of a precisely understood surface area by identifying the gravitational force applied onto the piston. PTB’s pressure balances are presently the most precise piston evaluates worldwide—high-precision instruments, each of them produced with terrific effort.

As there are, nevertheless, pressure varies in which even the very best pressure balances do not determine as precisely as metrologists would like them to. There have actually been undertakings to develop option pressure measurement techniques for a long period of time. “Our new method is actually very simple: it is based on measuring the density of the measuring gas helium by means of a capacitance measurement. It means that we measure to what degree the gas changes the capacitance of a special, highly stable capacitor between the electrodes,” describes Christof Gaiser, physicist at PTB. This method just describes one universal residential or commercial property of helium gas, which is revealed by means of the dielectric constant; it is for that reason a primary method.

Gaiser and his associates have actually therefore prospered in understanding a groundbreaking theoretical technique for the very first time in practice. As early as 1998, Mike Moldover of the American metrology institute NIST had actually voiced his concept of measuring pressure by means of an electrical (capacitance) measurement utilizing theoretical estimations of the gas residential or commercial properties of helium. In the following years, nevertheless, executing this concept showed to be a genuine difficulty. Both the accuracy capacitance measurement and the extremely steady capacitors required for this function, along with the theoretical estimations utilizing exclusively natural constants (ab initio estimations) were not yet possible with the needed precision. Additionally, it was not possible to precisely compare them with traditional pressure balances.

A question of pressure
One of the recently established, extremely precise pressure balances. Credit: PTB

Each of the speculative barriers has actually been eliminated at PTB over the last years. Due to activities performed within the scope of the new meaning of the base system kelvin, which reached its pinnacle on 20 May this year with the intro of a boosted system of systems, traditional pressure measurements both with pressure balances and by means of capacitance measurements were raised to an extraordinary level worldwide.

Thanks to the current theoretical estimations attained by varied research study groups around the world, it has actually now ended up being possible to determine a pressure of 7 million pascals (i.e. 70 times typical pressure) with a relative unpredictability of less than 5 × 10-6. This measurement has actually been verified by contrast with a traditional pressure balance. It was the very first contrast on an equivalent footing in between mechanical and electrical pressure measurements.

A question of pressure
Left: Conventional pressure measurement with a pressure balance according to pPB = Fg/Aeff (PB: pressure balance; g: gravitational force; Aeff: efficient surface area of a piston/cylinder system).Right: The new electrical technique: the relative modification in capacitance C(T) brought on by the determining gas at a recognized temperature level T, which is identified by ways of an adjusted resistance thermometer R(T), can be straight connected to the gas pressure. The dielectric continuous and the interaction of the gas particles participate in the needed ab initio estimations: pab-initio(C,T, Gasab-initio) Credit: PTB

Thus, a 2nd method is now readily available to adjust pressure with high precision. The method itself and the direct contrast with the traditional pressure basic deal, for something, the possibility to validate theoretical estimations of helium—a crucial design system in atomic physics. For another, they likewise permit other gases to be determined and therefore, both theory and gas metrology to be additional established.


Leading the way for the redefinition of the system of temperature level


More info:
Primary gas-pressure requirement from electrical measurements and thermophysical ab initio estimations, Nature Physics (2019). DOI: 10.1038/s41567-019-0722-2 , https://nature.com/articles/s41567-019-0722-2

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Scientists develop new primary method for measurement of pressure (2019, December 2)
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