Improved Metrological Traceability of Particle Size Values Measured with Line-Start Incremental Centrifugal Liquid Sedimentation

Langmuir. 2017 Aug 22;33(33):8213-8224. doi: 10.1021/acs.langmuir.7b01714. Epub 2017 Aug 9.


Line-start incremental centrifugal liquid sedimentation (disc-CLS) is a powerful method to determine particle size based on the principles of Stokes' law. Because several of the input quantities of the Stokes equation cannot be easily determined for this case of a rotating disc, the disc-CLS approach relies on calibrating the sedimentation time scale with reference particles. To use these calibrant particles for establishing metrological traceability, they must fulfill the same requirements as those imposed on a certified reference material, i.e., their certified Stokes diameter and density value must come with a realistic measurement uncertainty and with a traceability statement. As is the case for several other techniques, the calibrants do not always come with uncertainties for the assigned modal diameter and effective particle density. The lack of such information and the absence of a traceability statement make it difficult for the end-user to estimate the uncertainty of the measurement results and to compare them with results obtained by others. We present the results of a collaborative study that aimed at demonstrating the traceability of particle size results obtained with disc-CLS. For this purpose, the particle size and effective particle density of polyvinyl chloride calibrants were measured using different validated methods, and measurement uncertainties were estimated according to the Guide to the Expression of Uncertainty in Measurement. The results indicate that the modal Stokes diameter and effective particle density that are assigned to the calibrants are accurate within 5% and 3.5%, respectively, and that they can be used to establish traceability of particle size results obtained with disc-CLS. This conclusion has a great impact on the traceability statement of certified particle size reference materials, for which the traceability is limited to the size and density values of the calibrant particles.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't