Towards an understanding of surface effects: testing of various materials in a small volume measurement chamber and its relevance for atmospheric trace gas analysis

Satar, Ece; Nyfeler, Peter; Pascale, Céline; Niederhauser, Bernhard; Leuenberger, Markus

A critical issue for the long-term monitoring of atmospheric trace gases is precision and accuracy of the measurement systems employed. Both measuring and preparing reference gas mixtures for trace gases are challenging due to, for example, adsorption and desorption of the substances of interest on surfaces; this is particularly critical at low amount fractions and/or for reactive gases. Therefore, to ensure the best preparation and measurement conditions for trace gases in very low amount fractions, usage of coated materials is in demand in gas metrology and atmospheric measurement communities. This study focuses on testing potential adsorption and desorption effects for different materials or coatings that are currently used or that may be relevant in the future for the measurements of greenhouse gases. For this study we used small volume chambers designed to be used for adsorption studies. Various materials with or without coatings were loaded into the small cylinder to test their adsorption and desorption behavior. We used the aluminum cylinder as the measurement chamber and glass, aluminum, copper, brass, steel and three different commercially available coatings as test materials. Inserting the test materials into the measurement chamber doubles the available geometric area for the surface processes. The presented experiments were designed to investigate the pressure dependency of adsorption up to 15 bar and its temperature dependency up to 80 inline-formulaC for the test materials placed in the measurement chamber. Here, we focused on the species inline-formulaCO2, inline-formulaCH4, CO and inline-formulaH2O measured by a cavity ring-down spectroscopy analyzer. Our results show that the materials currently used in atmospheric measurements are well suited. The investigated coatings were not superior to untreated aluminum or to stainless steel at the tested pressure ranges, whereas under changing temperature aluminum showed better performance for inline-formulaCO2 (inline-formula<0.05inline-formulaµmol molinline-formula−1 change in measured amount fractions) than stainless steel (inline-formula>0.1inline-formulaµmol molinline-formula−1). To our knowledge, this study is one of the first attempts to investigate surface effects of different materials in such a setup for the abovementioned gases.

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Satar, Ece / Nyfeler, Peter / Pascale, Céline / et al: Towards an understanding of surface effects: testing of various materials in a small volume measurement chamber and its relevance for atmospheric trace gas analysis. 2020. Copernicus Publications.

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