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Open Access Design and Performance of a New Personal Aerosol Monitor

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Three particle size fractions of airborne dust are defined in Euro pean and U.S. standards for health-related dust measurements at the workplace: the respirable, the thoracic, and the inhalable fraction. We developed a novel instrument for personal, time-resolved concentration monitoring and sampling of these three fractions. The instrument combines inertial classification, filter sam pling, and photometric aerosol detection. It consists of a two-stage virtual impactor (cut-off diameters of 4 and 10 mu m), three filters, and three light scattering photometers. The virtual impactor serves as a particle size classifier and a coarse particle concentrator. This enrichment compensates for the decreasing particle mass-based photometric sensitivity with increasing particle diameter. The optical sensors are calibrated in-situ via the mass concentrations obtained gravimetrically from the filter samples. The device operates at a flow rate of 3.1 l min. There is strong agreement between the experimentally determined particle size-dependent collection efficiencies and the definition curves of the corresponding dust fractions. The size dependence of the sensitivity of the inertial concentrator and photometric detection units follow the definition curves qualitatively. Exposure data were obtained for different workplace environments characterized by temporally and spatially highly fluctuating concentrations. The field measurements have shown that the instrument is practicable under rough industrial conditions and that it enables a more comprehensive and more realistic characterization of the individ ual exposure of workers to health-endangering dusts than was previously possible.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 1999-08-01

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