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Open Access A Fast Scanning Mobility Particle Spectrometer for Monitoring Transient Particle Size Distributions

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The Scanning Mobility Particle Spectrometer (SMPS) is a key tool for measuring particle size distribution. The application of the instrument to obtain size distributions throughout a wide range of particle sizes for transient systems, such as motor vehicle emissions, has been limited by the time resolution of the SMPS. In this paper, we present a fast-SMPS (f-SMPS) that utilizes a Radial Differential Mobility Analyzer (rDMA) and a Mixing Condensation Particle Counter (mCPC). The combination of these two components allows for the acquisition of particle size distributions on the time scale of several seconds. The instrument has an operating range of 5–98 nm and can obtain particle size distributions at rates of up to 0.4 Hz. This paper presents the initial construction and calibration of the instrument followed by its application to several sampling scenarios. Samples from the on-road testing of a heavy-duty diesel (HDD) vehicle demonstrate the utility of this instrument for motor vehicle emissions measurements as size distributions can now be associated with discrete events taking place during vehicle on-road operation. For instance, these data indicate the presence of a number peak at 15 nm during transient vehicle operation. Previous work indicates that these particles are associated with the loss of engine lubricating oil.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Center for Environmental Research and Technology, Bourns College of Engineering, University of California, Riverside, CA, USA

Publication date: 2005-06-01

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