Novel instrument to separate large inhalable particles

K. R. Anderson, D. Leith, M. Ndonga, J. Volckens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Large inhalable particles are present in the workplace, yet few instruments exist to count and size such particles in situ. Inhalable-aerosol exposure can be evaluated using mass-based samplers such as the IOM or Button sampler, but these devices do not provide information on particle size distributions. Size-resolved samplers such as cascade impactors or the Aerodynamic Particle Sizer are limited to particle sizes <20 m due to difficulties with particle aspiration and transmission losses. This work describes the development of two samplers capable of measuring the concentration and size distribution of airborne particles from 20 to 100 m in aerodynamic diameter. One device is based on the principles of an upflow elutriator, whereas the other eliminates the potentially adverse effects of an upward-facing jet to separate particles from a quiescent airstream. Analytical models and computational fluid dynamics simulations were used to predict the performance of the two samplers. Sampling efficiencies of these devices were tested in a calm-air chamber with polydisperse, fluorescent microspheres (10-100 m). Epifluorescent microscopy of settled dust was used to determine reference particle counts and sizes. Both devices are capable of size-selective sampling; however, the second sampler produced higher sampling efficiencies and sharper cut points compared to the simpler elutriator design. Experimental sampling efficiencies for both samplers showed good agreement with computational and analytical solutions. This work suggests that these devices can size-segregate inhalable aerosols in quiescent environments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1195-1209
Number of pages15
JournalAerosol Science and Technology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2 2015

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