A novel gravimetric primary mercury vapour standard

Hugo Ent, VSL (NL)

Within the “Traceability for mercury measurements” project (MeTra; European Metrology Research Programme) a mercury vapour generator is being developed to establish traceability of mercury vapour measurement results, based upon a gravimetric approach, for ambient air levels as well as higher concentrations.
Current measurement capabilities are maintained at levels of 0,25 – 350 μg Hg/m3, whereas the aim of the novel gravimetric primary standard is to realize metrological traceability for the range 5 ng Hg/m3 – 60 μg Hg/m3, with a target measurement uncertainty of 1 %. This to cover key requirements for ambient air monitoring (1 – 2 ng Hg/m3), health-based exposure standards (50 ng Hg/m3), concentrations relevant to stationary source emissions (upwards of 1 μg Hg/m3) and the minimum alveolar concentration value (20 μg Hg/m3).
The development and characterization of the primary vapour generator will be presented. Furthermore the results will be presented of two comparisons held to demonstrate the robustness and comparability of the novel primary standard. One comparison was performed against the Dumarey vapour pressure equation, while another comparison was performed against current calibration facilities present at national metrology institutes.
The newly developed mercury vapour generator will contribute to comparable measurement results of mercury vapour at ambient and background air levels, and also to higher safety standards and cost reductions in e.g. the LNG field, where aluminium main cryogenic heat exchangers are used which are particular prone to corrosion caused by mercury.


Pen Profile

My main R&D activities are focussed on the development of a mercury vapour measurement standard in the 10 – 60000 ng Hg/m3 range (EMRP MeTra project) and on the purity analysis of hydrogen used for hydrogen driven vehicles.

I am working for our Customised Applied Metrology (CAM) Department, focussing on energy related topics (e.g. metrological infrastructure, gaseous reference materials, humidity in all kinds of gaseous matrices up to 60 bar, consultancy, courses). I will be happy to answer your enquiries.
Please also approach me if you are interested in new projects, one on oxidised mercury and another one on hydrogen fuel for vehicles, that will start in 2017 within the European Metrology Programme for Innovation and Research (EMPIR).


+31 (0)15 2 690 448