Calibration gases are used in a variety of industries where precision is required. The mixture of gaseous components is used as a comparative reference in the calibration of analytical instruments, such as gas analyzers or gas detectors. Beyond the scientific applications where specificity is a must, using instruments that are inaccurately calibrated can be dangerous and pose serious risk to workers. In order to better explain the technicalities involved in such a precise field, we’ve compiled this brief glossary of terms.
- Traceability: Traceability is defined as “the property of the result of a measurement or the value of a standard whereby it can be related to stated references, usually national or international standards, through an unbroken chain of comparisons all having stated uncertainties.” All commercial reference standard manufacturers are responsible for establishing traceability in their products.
- Primary Reference Gas Mixtures (PRGM): These are considered to be the highest quality standards available for use by commercial businesses. Essentially, they offer the best (meaning lowest) uncertainties available, ensuring a very precise and accurate measurement.
- Secondary Reference Gas Mixtures (SRGM): With secondary reference gas mixtures, the analytical value and analytical uncertainties are reported on the certificate. Low uncertainties are balanced with cost-effectiveness in SRGMs, especially when supplied in large volume cylinders. They must be accredited to ISO17025 or equivalent.
- Working Gas Standards: Analysis of working standards is not underpinned by ISO17025, and is often determined based on weight. As a result, buyers must rely on statements of suppliers that the mixtures are accurate.
- ISO17025: This represents the international standard that defines the “general requirements for the competence of testing and calibration in laboratories.” However, it should be noted that it is the laboratory that holds the accreditation, not the reference standards produced. Since inaccurate, non-traceable calibration gases pose the most risk, you must be sure that the laboratory you’re sourcing from is credible.
The global gas market is expected to overtake the demand for coal by the year 2030. However, in order to be considered suitable for use in calibration purposes, they must meet gas calibration standards. If your business or industry relies on calibration gas to safely and effectively perform its job, calibration gas suppliers and specialty gas suppliers ready and able to fill any custom orders you may have.