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NIST Experience with Non-Rotating Force-Balanced Piston Gauges for Low Pressure Metrology



Jay H. Hendricks, Douglas A. Olson


The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Low Pressure Manometry Project maintains and operates primary standard ultrasonic interferometer manometers (UIMs) over the pressure range of 1 mPa to 360 kPa. Over the past decade a new type of customer gauge, the non-rotating force-balanced piston gauge or FPG (model 8601, DH Instruments, a Fluke Company) has been introduced to the standards community that covers the range of ~1 Pa of 15 000 Pa and is capable of both absolute and differential measurement modes. Since 2002, NIST customers have requested that four different FPG units be compared to the NIST primary pressure manometer standards (UIMs). The results of the comparisons were that all four FPG units were within manufacturers stated uncertainty (0.008 Pa + 30 x10-6 x P for absolute mode) when compared against the NIST UIMs at pressures between 10 Pa to 15 000 Pa (absolute mode). At pressures between 5 Pa to 10 Pa, the results were generally within manufacturer s specifications. Below 5 Pa some of the FPG units were outside of manufacturer s uncertainty specifications. The use of an isolating capacitance diaphragm gauge (CDG) was necessary during the comparisons to prevent humidified gas from the FPG from entering the NIST 160 kPa mercury UIM primary pressure standard. The results of these four different comparison tests will be discussed in detail, along with test conditions, equipment set-up, and test uncertainty analysis.
Conference Dates
September 6-11, 2009
Conference Location
Conference Title
XIX IMEKO World Congress
Fundamental and Applied Metrology


force balanced piston gauge, FPG, metrology, pressure, standards, UIM, ultrasonic interferometer manometer, vacuum


Hendricks, J. and Olson, D. (2009), NIST Experience with Non-Rotating Force-Balanced Piston Gauges for Low Pressure Metrology, XIX IMEKO World Congress Fundamental and Applied Metrology , Lisbon, -1, [online], (Accessed June 13, 2024)


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Created September 6, 2009, Updated February 19, 2017