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Re-estimation of argon isotopes ratios leading to a revised estimate of the Boltzmann constant

de Podesta, M; Mark, D F; Dymock, R C; Underwood, R; Bacquart, T; Sutton, G; Davidson, S; Machin, G (2017) Re-estimation of argon isotopes ratios leading to a revised estimate of the Boltzmann constant. Metrologia, 54 (5). pp. 683-692.

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Abstract

In 2013, NPL, SUERC and Cranfield University published an estimate for the Boltzmann constant [1] based on a measurement of the limiting low-pressure speed of sound in argon gas. Subsequently, an extensive investigation by Yang et al [2] revealed that there was likely to have been an error in the estimate of the molar mass of the argon used in the experiment. Responding to [2], de Podesta et al revised their estimate of the molar mass [3]. The shift in the estimated molar mass, and of the estimate of kB, was large: -2.7 parts in 106, nearly four times the original uncertainty estimate. The work described here was undertaken to understand the cause of this shift and our conclusion is that the original samples were probably contaminated with argon from atmospheric air.
In this work we have repeated the measurement reported in [1] on the same gas sample that was examined in [2, 3]. However in this work we have used a different technique for sampling the gas that has allowed us to eliminate the possibility of contamination of the argon samples. We have repeated the sampling procedure three times, and examined samples on two mass spectrometers. This procedure confirms the isotopic ratio estimates of Yang et al [2] but with lower uncertainty, particularly in the relative abundance ratio R38:36.
Our new estimate of the molar mass of the argon used in Isotherm 5 in [1] is 39.947 727(15) g mol-1 which differs by +0.50 parts in 106 from the estimate 39.947 707(28) g mol-1 made in [3]. This new estimate of the molar mass leads to a revised estimate of the Boltzmann constant of kB = 1.380 648 60 (97) × 10-23 J K-1 which differs from the 2014 CODATA value by +0.05 parts in 106.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Boltzmann Constant, Kelvin redefinition, Acoustic Gas Thermometry
Subjects: Engineering Measurements > Thermal
Divisions: Engineering, Materials & Electrical Science
Identification number/DOI: 10.1088/1681-7575/aa7880
Last Modified: 05 Feb 2018 14:02
URI: http://eprintspublications.npl.co.uk/id/eprint/7673

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