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Using Permeameters for Environmental Applications

Modern environmental studies face a multiplicity of problems including the breadth of the sector itself, which encapsulates numerous disciplines and methodologies from across the world. Disparities between national or cultural priorities makes it difficult to draw accurate conclusions about the state of human interaction with global ecological systems – which is why it is important to monitor our environment on microcosmic scales.


Permeameters are broadly applied for environmental applications, with proven suitability for geological, agricultural, and water treatment studies. They are equipped to analyze the liquid or vapour permeability of analytes on millidarcy (md) scales under tightly controlled parameters.

Meritics previously showcased the various applications of permeameters, focusing on rock core analysis and the manufacture of geotextiles, but this article will explore how permeameters are applied for environmental applications in more detail:

Importance of Permeameters in Environmental Studies

Environmental change is primarily concerned with the characteristics of water and vapour. Worldwide perceptions of climate change have been shaped by the concept of global warming; the process by which greenhouse gasses emitted through increased industrialization and urbanization warm and pollute the atmosphere. Symptoms of this process include corrosive acid rain and increased coastal erosion due to rising sea levels. These factors can pollute soils and sediments, foul drinking water, and affect various forms of infrastructure.

It is crucial therefore that dedicated permeameters are applied to characterize a material’s susceptibility to moisture or vapour permeation, to analyze the impacts of environmental changes and to inform the development of materials equipped to cope with the changing demands of our environment.

Permeameters for Materials Characterization

Permeameters can determine various characteristics of materials under differing parameters, allowing researchers to simulate real-world conditions in order to draw accurate conclusions about a sample’s liquid or vapour permeation characteristics. These conclusions can inform the development of advanced materials such as geotextiles and water filtration systems.

Certain permeameters are designed to calculate and measure the dimensions of a material’s porous structures using liquid flow methodologies. The PMI-APPS-60 permeability porosimeter, for example, uses nonwetting liquid intrusion to measure permeation of a sample relating to time and pressure – with pressure values ranging up to 200 psi. It can accurately measure the shape and volumes of pores, even for hydrophobic materials.

Permeameters enabled for porosity measurements can be used to characterize semi-permeable membranes for application in water treatment sectors. These manufactured materials may be used for microfiltration; to remove bacteria and particulates from water, and for ultrafiltration; to separate liquids such as oils from a water source. Such instrumentation is helping experts maintain high degrees of drinking water purity, and simultaneously improving the quality of effluent wastewater from treatment plants by improving the quality of semi-permeable membranes.

The water cycle champions the need for sustainability and combats pollution levels from waste runoff that might otherwise be dispersed into the sea. This system depends upon filtration systems capable of discriminating between water and potentially hazardous treatment chemicals, viral particles, or catalytic metal molecules – which in turn requires increasingly accurate permeameters capable of characterizing treatment filters on nanomolecular scales.

Studies have also used semi-permeable membranes to evaluate pollutive distribution in seawater, and gas flow permeameters are finding increasing application in the study of vapour or gas pollution at sub-tropospheric levels.

Permeameters from Meritics

Meritics are global suppliers of leading particle size analysis instrumentation, offering a choice of permeameters equipped for liquid or gas flow methodologies. The PMI-APPS-60 is a versatile porosimeter that can measure pore diameters in a range of 0.003 – 350 µm, for characterization of multiple forms of filter media.

If you would like any more information about our permeameters, please do not hesitate to contact us.