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I have a type of pressure gauge (material in contact with medium: 1.4542 (17-4 PH / 630)²) that I would like to use for sulphur hexaflouride (SF6) at room temperature and pressures of typically 6 bar.

Unfortunately, the manufacturer is not really interested to support me with information if this sensor is compatible with SF6, either they tell me to find out myself or just not to use it.

So I wonder - how would you approach this issue, what limiting factors other than the material in contact with the medium and the max pressure could there be?

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In terms of chemical compatibility SF6 is a relatively inert gas, it will not react with most metals, plastics, glasses. In fact there used to be a loudspeaker company in Canada that used the gas as a high voltage insulator in their electrostatic speakers, the gas being in constant contact with a thin mylar film used for the speaker diaphragm (around .25 mil thick). So to really get an engineering solution I would just ask the manufacturer of your sensor to give you information about what materials the sensor is made of and contact the makers of the SF6 gas to make sure there would be no harmful reaction between the sensor and the gas.

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  • $\begingroup$ Given the limited help that the manufacturer has already given, I doubt that they will provide information about the construction of the gauge. $\endgroup$
    – hazzey
    Oct 31 '15 at 21:11
  • $\begingroup$ @hazzey: OK, according to wiki article on SF6, the only metal that it would react with is lithium, and I doubt that there is any lithium in the sensor ;-) $\endgroup$ Oct 31 '15 at 22:05
  • $\begingroup$ @hazzey: If the manufacturer is not helpful in the use of their product, why not use another sensor from a different mfg, if there are any liability issues at all in the use of your sensor, get one certified to be compatible with SF6. Cover your butt, but if you are just using this sensor for your own personal use, go ahead and use it, JMHO $\endgroup$ Oct 31 '15 at 22:16
  • $\begingroup$ Unfortunately, the manufacturer is really not very helpful besides stating "material in contact with medium: 1.4542 (17-4 PH / 630)²" ... and even though I am not worried about the compatibility knowing about the minimal reactivity of SF6, It is just these liability issues that make me hesitate ... $\endgroup$
    – LeRookie
    Nov 8 '15 at 19:28
  • $\begingroup$ NASA has a wealth of information on sensors of all kinds, that have to deal with extreme temperatures and mediums . Check out the "NASA Tech Briefs" periodical to find sensors that will be perfect for your application. To help you zero in on particular sensor types that will have no problem with the SF6, check out micromachined silicon pressure sensors and quartz diaphragm pressure sensors. $\endgroup$ Nov 9 '15 at 1:36

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