Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Pressure disequilibria induced by rapid valve closure in noble gas extraction lines

June 1, 2015

Pressure disequilibria during rapid valve closures can affect calculated molar quantities for a range of gas abundance measurements (e.g., K-Ar geochronology, (U-Th)/He geochronology, noble gas cosmogenic chronology). Modeling indicates this effect in a system with a 10 L reservoir reaches a bias of 1% before 1000 pipette aliquants have been removed from the system, and a bias of 10% before 10,000 aliquants. Herein we explore the causes and effects of this problem, which is the result of volume changes during valve closure. We also present a solution in the form of an electropneumatic pressure regulator that can precisely control valve motion. This solution reduces the effect to ∼0.3% even after 10,000 aliquants have been removed from a 10 L reservoir.