Considerations for Safe Use of Mercury Porosimetry Instruments

Mercury Intrusion Porosimetry (MIP) is suggested by IUPAC as the most useful and accepted method for characterization of macroporous materials. Good laboratory practices (GLPs) and safety considerations must be taken into account when using the instrument and handling liquid mercury. This report provides a review of the 2012 IUPAC report with special emphasis on safety considerations and recommendations.

Material scientists have long understood the importance of pore size and pore volume characterization of porous materials. The available pore size characterization techniques used for a particular sample are dependent upon the structural and chemical properties of the material itself.

Mercury intrusion porosimetry (MIP) is a well-established method of characterizing macroporous material — materials containing pores larger than 50 nm. It is the most widely used for determining macropore size and volume distribution. Despite environmental concerns, to date there is still no well-established or suitable alternative to the use of mercury for macropore analysis. Appropriate safety measures, as discussed here, allow mercury to be handled safely and like any other laboratory chemical.

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