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Mercury Intrusion Porosimetry

Mercury Intrusion Porosimetry (MIP) is a powerful technique utilized for the characterization of pore size distribution, pore volume and porosity of a variety of solid and powder materials. Samples analyzed by this technique are placed in a sample cell with liquid mercury surrounding the sample.  Force is applied to intrude the mercury into any voids or pores within the sample bed.  Larger voids and pores will fill first, at lower pressure.  As the pressure behind the mercury is increased, smaller and smaller pores will begin to fill.  The volume of mercury intruded into the sample is recorded at each pressure point. The Washburn Equation is then used to relate the applied pressure to a pore diameter.  The volume of mercury intruded into the sample at each pore diameter can then be reported.

Instruments utilized at PTL allow for pressures ranging from approximately 1 psi up to 60,000 psi which correlates to measurement of pores from about 250 µm to 0.003 µm (3 nm). MIP is recognized by several standards and guidance agencies, including the ISO, ASTM, USP and EP.  This technology is widely used across multiple industries including petrochemical, automotive, catalysis, biomedical and pharmaceutical companies.

By using MIP to evaluate pore size, pore volume, and porosity of substrates, PTL has identified differences between manufacturers, pinpointed problems in processing conditions, and provided routine quality control testing to numerous industries.

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  • Percent porosity can be determined from the first and last pressure measurement
  • Both inter-particle pores (between the individual particles) and the intra-particle pores (within the particle itself) can be characterized
  • Wide range of pore sizes can be characterized


  • Sample can be compressed or altered if it is not robust enough to withstand high pressure
  • This analysis is destructive; analyzed sample is properly disposed of following analysis
  • Sample must be dry for analysis

Sample Requirements

Ideal sample amount is 10 grams; as little as 2 grams may be sufficient.

If sample availability is limited, please contact PTL.  Smaller sample quantities may be accommodated depending on sample properties.

Larger solid sample pieces may be analyzed depending on available analytical cells.


Detection Range

PTL’s mercury porosimeters can measure pore size distribution and area measurements in the range of 0.003 µm to 200 µm (3 nm to 200 µm).

Data Reported

In addition to the pore size distribution, Pore area (m²/g), Percent porosity (%) are included, as well as Apparent density (g/mL).


Particle Technology Labs has some of the top players in the industry, such as Micromeritics and Anton Paar/Quantatec.

Anton Paar/Quantatec Poremaster 60

Micromeritics AutoPore V 9600

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