A Guide to Vacuum Pressure Measurements

October 14, 2021

Understanding vacuum pressure measurement

How can one calculate the emptiness of a place? Or better still, anything close to the emptiness of a space humanly created? So, you see, this is a matter that has confused many, and still leaves one wondering how possible it can be.

In the same vein, it is the kind of question you would ask yourself when the issue of measuring vacuum comes to mind. Now, we can measure this “emptiness” by evaluating how much pressure it creates. To get a better understanding of vacuum pressure measurements, we need to dive a bit deeper into the science world. Before we do that, a careful understanding of what a vacuum is important.

What is Vacuum?

A lot of persons have different ideas on this subject matter. The minds of some would travel to the point of a state of emptiness and voidness, others would go to the cleaning equipment in their homes. Whichever it is, there is an atom of truth in your answer. However, scientists would think differently as to what this element means to them and our world at large.

Vacuum is the scarcity of gases or air in a space. It also describes a situation when gas is taken out of a system so as to create a force below atmospheric pressure. Now, using an unexceptional atmospheric force as a bearing, the one measured above it is known as "pressure" whereas the one measured below is known as the vacuum. It is generally calculated as a negative force.

In simple terms, it is an area in which no matter is present. Or, there is a low pressure such that the particles in that particular area do not influence the activities happening there. In other words, it's a situation that is below the standard atmospheric force.

You can create a void by taking gas or air out of a particular space. This happens when you decrease the tension in the space using a prompt stream of fluid or a pump. You can visit https://www.normandale.edu/departments/stem-and-education/ to learn how to create a vacuum.

Units of Vacuum Pressure Measurement

The units used in the measurement of space emptiness and its accompanying force or tension differ. It also depends majorly on your location. Some units can change, depending on the part of the world the experiment is carried out. Among the units of measurement, the commonest is the mmHg, which is millimeters of mercury.

Here, you calculate the number of millimeters of mercury that moves upward when subject to voidness from the edge of the pipe used. This method of measuring was named Torr, after Andrea Torricelli, a one-time great scientist. He was the original developer of this experiment which is currently used to validate the presence of a void.

Notwithstanding, some other units of measurement include the atmosphere, that is to say, the atmosphere's pressure at the sea level (which is approximately 760 Torr - or mmHg.) Tiny particles of mercury are also equal to millimeters of mercury when measured using an imperial system other than the usual metric unit. Other units of measurement, not commonly used, are the millibars and pascals.

Devices Used in Measuring Vacuum Pressure

Simple guide to vacuum measurement

There are a lot of devices, more than you can think of, that scientists use in measuring these elements. For some of these devices, you may want to interchange their usage but unfortunately, it does not work that way. This is because they have a tendency to be used at distinctive vacuum pressure levels.

These pieces of equipment can be very demanding, requiring a lot of care and attention. They also require correct calibration and a scientist who is skilled enough to handle them and give correct interpretations of the readings.

1. The U-Tube Manometer

As the name implies, it is shaped like a U and contains fluid. When tension is applied to a tube's edge, the fluid increases in the second tube thereby resulting in the measurement for vacuum pressure. This experiment is a duplication of Torricelli's original idea.

2. The Capacitance Manometer

Unlike the first tool, this one is very precise in its outcomes. It uses a pressured diaphragm instead of a liquid. With electrodes, it identifies modifications in the capacitance after vacuum pressure must have been applied, thereby resulting in precise measurements.

3. The Bourdon-Tube Scale

This tool consists of a tube made into an arc. Whenever pressure is applied, the tube curves much or little, based on how much vacuum is present. This device is commonly used to calibrate vacuum platforms. Therefore, up-to-date laboratories should have this one.

There are other devices for measuring vacuum pressure. You can read this article to learn more about them.


Now, you can confidently tell anyone how emptiness can be measured, right? We explained how to create a void as well as how to measure it. We also discussed the units of measurement which include mmHg, pascal, and millibar.


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