Reference materials

To perform traceable chemical analyses, analytical equipment needs to be calibrated. This can be done using reference materials, and VSL has a wide range of them.

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What are reference materials?

Reference materials are materials whose composition is very precisely known. An example is a specific gas composition analysed to the highest measurement standards. The accuracy of an analysis device can then be determined by having it analyse the reference material. This identifies any deviations in the device.

Boasting years of experience with their use, VSL supplies a wide range of reference materials to users worldwide. We offer high quality and traceability to primary standards, particularly as regards gas compositions, viscosity and mineral oils. Our customers include renowned suppliers of special gases, environmental monitoring services and end users in the energy, environmental and other sectors.

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Sabine Snijder
Sales Engineer

Chemical reference materials

VSL supplies virtually all the required compositions for gas standards, such as environmental and energy gases. We produce these accredited gas mixtures (Primary Reference Materials) in accordance with ISO 17034:2016 requirements, verifying them against primary standards. These reference materials provide a solid basis for your quality system (quality assurance/quality control) and ensure international traceability. Click here for a list of the available reference materials.

We also analyse and calibrate gas mixtures from third parties (Calibrated Gas Mixtures). We assess these CGMs using our primary standard gas mixtures. The certificates we issue provide information on the composition and measurement uncertainty of the relevant gas mixture.

Transfer standards in adsorption tubes
VSL supplies a wide range of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in various concentrations for quality controls of gas chromatographs (GCs). We provide them in adsorption tubes for thermal or liquid desorption.

Reference materials for viscosity

Mixes of mineral or synthetic oils
The certified reference materials usually consist of mixes of mineral or synthetic oils produced in batches of 1 to 10 litres. The most common CRMs are available from stock (delivery time 1 week). It is also possible to supply reference materials with specific properties, which are produced and calibrated to order. Click here for a list of available CRMs.

Shelf life of reference materials
The reference materials that VSL supplies come with a certificate stating the shelf life. Studies have shown that the liquids remain stable for at least 1 year (within internationally defined uncertainty margins) provided they are kept closed and stored in a dark place at a temperature between 10°C and 35°C.

Calibration on request
VSL can issue a certificate stating both kinematic and dynamic viscosity at various temperatures. We also calibrate reference materials produced by third parties and produce and calibrate reference fluids with specific properties upon request.

US National Institute of Standards (NIST)

In addition to a Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) between metrology institutes worldwide, VSL has a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) and Declaration of Equivalence (DoE) with the United States National Institute of Standards (NIST). Both documents are key to our service provision with regard to traceable gas mixtures. In accordance with the US EPA Clean Air Act, some measurements require the use of reference gas mixtures traceable to NIST. On the basis of the DoE, gas mixtures originating from “VSL in The Netherlands” also comply. VSL is the only metrology institute outside the United States that has this status. The DoE is renewed every two years. Click here for the current DoE.

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