Unlocking Carbon History in the Antarctic Ice Using the SmartTrak® 100

The greatest challenge facing Earth currently is determining conclusively how humans are impacting the environment and what steps can be taken to stop and reverse global warming. One important method for measuring the growing level of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere is to look back in time by measuring the quantity of CO2 locked in Antarctic ice.

To expand this understanding, every year Stanford researcher David Mucciarone spends two months in the Antarctic measuring the breakdown of inorganic carbon in both ice and sea to discover how much CO2 the ocean can effectively digest.

Analyzing Carbon Content in Arctic Ice

Mucciarone uses a device known as a carbon analyzer to measure the carbon locked into the ocean water and ice. This analyzer requires precise measurement and control of sample flows in order to be effective.

Sierra's Solution

With just days before Stanford researcher David Mucciarone was due to depart for Antarctica, the mass flow controller in his carbon analyzer failed. His instrumentation supplier recommended that he switch to Sierra.

Taking that advice, Mucciarone purchased a Sierra SmartTrak® 100 Digital Mass Flow Controller, just a few days before boarding the ship. He installed it as he travelled towards Antarctica, and it worked perfectly. However, demanding trials lay ahead as the icebreaker Mucciarone was traveling on plunged through several miles of thick ice before arriving at one of the most extreme environments on Earth.

In spite of the challenges, the SmartTrak® 100 did not falter. “We’re very happy and that’s the bottom line,” says Mucciarone.

Based on his achievement with the carbon analyzer, he plans to use extra analyzers on ocean reef and other ecosystems worldwide - each containing a Sierra SmartTrak® 100 mass flow controller.

SmartTrak® 100 Features

The Sierra’s SmartTrak® 100 is an ideal choice because of the following reasons:

  • Patented, inherently linear Laminar Flow Element (LFE) design
  • Offers smooth and flexible valve performance
  • Has more robust electronics compared to other industry mass flow controllers
  • Pilot Module allows users to switch between 10 pre-programmed gases, set zero, span and full scale, change setpoint value and source, choose output signal, modify engineering units, and much more



This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Sierra Instruments.

For more information on this source, please visit Sierra Instruments.


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