Helium Mass Spectrometer Leak Detection: A Method to Quantify Total Measurement Uncertainty
Conference: Publication Date: 16 March 2015Testing Method:
In applications where leak rates of components or systems are evaluated against a leak rate requirement, the uncertainty of the measured leak rate must be included in the reported result. However, in the helium mass spectrometer leak detection method, the sensitivity, or resolution, of the instrument is often the only component of the total measurement uncertainty noted when reporting results. To address this shortfall, a measurement uncertainty analysis method was developed that includes the leak detector unit’s resolution, repeatability, hysteresis, and drift, along with the uncertainty associated with the calibration standard. In a step-wise process, the method identifies the bias and precision components of the calibration standard, the measurement correction factor (K-factor), and the leak detector unit. Together these individual contributions to error are combined and the total measurement uncertainty is determined using the root-sum-square method. It was found that the precision component contributed more to the total uncertainty than the bias component, but the bias component was not insignificant. For helium mass spectrometer leak rate tests where unit sensitivity alone is not enough, a thorough evaluation of the measurement uncertainty such as the one presented herein should be performed and reported along with the leak rate value.
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