Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

A gas pressure scale based on primary standard piston gauges



Douglas A. Olson, Robert G. Driver, Walter J. Bowers Jr.


The National Institute of Standards and Technology has redefined its gas pressure scale, up to 17 MPa, based on two primary standard piston gauges. The primary standard piston gauges are 35.8 mm in diameter and operate from 20 kPa to 1 MPa. Ten secondary standard piston gauges, two each of five series of the Ruska 2465 type, with successively smaller diameters form the scale extending up to 17 MPa. Six of the piston gauges were directly compared to the primary standards to determine their effective area and expanded (k=2) uncertainty. Two piston gauges operating to 7 MPa were compared to the 1.4 MPa gauges, and two piston gauges operating to 17 MPa were compared to the 7 MPa gauges. Distortion in the 7 MPa piston gauges was determined by comparing those gauges to a DH Instruments PG7601 type piston gauge, whose distortion was calculated using elasticity theory. The relative standard uncertainties achieved by the primary standards range from 3.0×10-6 to 3.2×10-6. The relative standard uncertainty of the secondary standards is as low as 4.2×10-6 at 300 kPa. The effective areas and uncertainties were validated by comparison to standards of other National Metrology Institutes. Results show agreement in all cases to better than the expanded (k=2) uncertainty of the difference between NIST and the other NMIs, and in most cases to better than the standard (k=1) uncertainty of the difference.
Journal of Research (NIST JRES) -
November-December 2010


gas pressure scale, key comparison, piston gauge, pressure, primary pressure standard, uncertainty


Olson, D. , Driver, R. and Bowers, W. (2010), A gas pressure scale based on primary standard piston gauges, Journal of Research (NIST JRES), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed May 26, 2024)


If you have any questions about this publication or are having problems accessing it, please contact

Created December 6, 2010, Updated November 14, 2018