What Does a Porometer Measure?

What a porometer measures

The obvious answer to the question in the heading is pore size, but this would be a very short article if I left it at that. I’d like to do a quick recap on the variety of measurements and analytical circumstances in which the users of a porometer might be interested.

There is more to pore size than meets the eye. Depending on what you want to know about a material’s porous structure, you might use a porometer to determine the diameter of the largest pore, the pore diameter at its narrowest point, the average diameter of the pores, the distribution of the pores and the permeability of the sample to gas.

A huge range of different porometers is available from PMI, each adapted to particular challenges faced in characterisation of porous substances.

It should be remembered that the porous nature of a sample may differ depending on whether you take measurements in the thickness direction (z) or in the in-plane (z or y) directions. PMI porometers can make determinations in all of these.

The instruments are designed to handle many different shapes and sizes of sample. Importantly, analysis can be carried out without actually cutting a sample from – and thereby damaging – the product under test.

Pore structure may be affected by a number of factors, such as compressive and cyclic compressive stresses, temperature changes and chemical environments. A porometer can be used to investigate these effects by taking measurements under varying conditions.

With their sophisticated design, today’s porometers are capable of very precise and highly reproducible results. To make life even better for the analyst, PMI has developed many different features and facilities which add to those of the essential porometer. They include multiple sample chambers, the ability to generate reproducible results even more rapidly, and options for multiple testing, determination of liquid permeability and predefinition of criteria for product selection.

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