31 research outputs found

    Field evaluation of low-cost electrochemical air quality gas sensors under extreme temperature and relative humidity conditions

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    Modern electrochemical gas sensors hold great potential for improving practices in air quality (AQ) monitoring as their low cost, ease of operation and compact design can enable dense observational networks and mobile measurements. Despite that, however, numerous studies have shown that the performance of these sensors depends on a number of factors (e.g. environmental conditions, sensor quality, maintenance and calibration), thereby adding significant uncertainties in the reported measurements and large discrepancies from those recorded by reference-grade instruments. In this work we investigate the performance of electrochemical sensors, provided by two manufacturers (namely Alphasense and Winsen), for measuring the concentrations of CO, NO2, O3 and SO2. To achieve that we carried out collocated yearlong measurements with reference-grade instruments at a traffic AQ monitoring station in Nicosia, Cyprus, where temperatures ranged from ca. 0 ∘C in the winter to almost 45 ∘C in the summer. The CO sensors exhibit the best performance among all the ones we tested, having minimal mean relative error (MRE) compared to reference instruments (ca. −5 %), although a significant difference in their response was observed before and after the summer period. At the other end of the spectrum, the SO2 sensors reported concentration values that were at least 1 order of magnitude higher than the respective reference measurements (with MREs being more than 1000 % for Alphasense and almost 400 % for Winsen throughout the entire measurement period), which can be justified by the fact that the concentrations of SO2 at our measuring site were below their limit of detection. In general, variabilities in the environmental conditions (i.e. temperature and relative humidity) appear to significantly affect the performance of the sensors. When compared with reference instruments, the CO and NO2 electrochemical sensors provide measurements that exhibit increasing errors and decreasing correlations as temperature increases (from below 10 to above 30 ∘C) and RH decreases (from >75 % to below 30 %). Interestingly, the performance of the sensors was affected irreversibly during the hot summer period, exhibiting different responses before and after that, resulting in a signal deterioration that was more than twice that reported by the manufacturers. With the exception of the Alphasense NO2 sensor, all low-cost sensors (LCSs) exhibited measurement uncertainties that were much higher, even at the beginning of our measurement period, compared to those required for qualifying the sensors for indicative air quality measurements according to the respective European Commission (EC) Directive. Overall, our results show that the response of all LCSs is strongly affected by the environmental conditions, warranting further investigations on how they are manufactured, calibrated and employed in the field.Atmospheric Remote Sensin

    Performance evaluation of a 3D-printed sharp-cut cyclone

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    A sharp-cut cyclone with an aerodynamic cut-off diameter of 1 μm, when operated at a flow rate of 1 L min−1, was built by 3D-printing and tested against a metallic (aluminum) counterpart having the same design and dimensions. The penetration efficiency of both cyclones was experimentally determined using quasi-monodisperse aerosol particles having aerodynamic diameters from ca. 100 nm to 2 μm. The aerodynamic cut-off diameter for both cyclones was very similar and in accordance with the expected design value. The penetration efficiency curve of the 3D-printed cyclone was less steep compared to that of its metallic counterpart. This difference is most likely attributed to the higher surface roughness of the inner parts of the 3D-printed cyclone - as also indicated by the greater pressure drop it exhibits compared to the aluminum cyclone when operated at the same flow rate - and not by higher deviations from its design dimensions resulting from the tolerances of the 3D printer. Despite that, the substantially low cost, speed, and ease of manufacturing, make the 3D-printed cyclone a highly promising solution for applications in aerosol metrology.Atmospheric Remote Sensin

    Temperature and pressure effects on the performance of the portable TSI 3007 condensation particle counter: Implications on ground and aerial observations

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    One of the most commonly employed instruments in the category of handheld condensation particle counters (CPCs) is the TSI 3007, which employs a simplified system for achieving a temperature difference between its saturator and its condenser in view of increasing portability, energy efficiency and autonomy. As a result, particle growth and consequently the detection efficiency of the instrument can be affected by the measurement conditions. In this work we measure the detection efficiency of the TSI 3007 CPC under temperatures and pressures that differ from standard conditions. Our results show that the performance of the CPC has a strong temperature dependence in the range of 5–30 °C, whereas it is not affected by ambient pressure when this varies between 0.7 and 1.0 atm. The temperature dependent detection efficiency of the instrument becomes significant at sizes below 20 nm. Recording the temperature at which this CPC is operated is therefore strongly advised, especially when required to determine the number concentration of sub-20 nm aerosol particles.Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository 'You share, we take care!' - Taverne project https://www.openaccess.nl/en/you-share-we-take-care Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.Atmospheric Remote Sensin

    Characterizing the Chemical Profile of Incidental Ultrafine Particles for Toxicity Assessment Using an Aerosol Concentrator

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    Incidental ultrafine particles (UFPs) constitute a key pollutant in industrial workplaces. However, characterizing their chemical properties for exposure and toxicity assessments still remains a challenge. In this work, the performance of an aerosol concentrator (Versatile Aerosol Concentration Enrichment System, VACES) was assessed to simultaneously sample UFPs on filter substrates (for chemical analysis) and as liquid suspensions (for toxicity assessment), in a high UFP concentration scenario. An industrial case study was selected where metal-containing UFPs were emitted during thermal spraying of ceramic coatings. Results evidenced the comparability of the VACES system with online monitors in terms of UFP particle mass (for concentrations up to 95 µg UFP/m3) and between filters and liquid suspensions, in terms of particle composition (for concentrations up to 1000 µg/m3). This supports the applicability of this tool for UFP collection in view of chemical and toxicological characterization for incidental UFPs. In the industrial setting evaluated, results showed that the spraying temperature was a driver of fractionation of metals between UF (<0.2 µm) and fine (0.2-2.5 µm) particles. Potentially health hazardous metals (Ni, Cr) were enriched in UFPs and depleted in the fine particle fraction. Metals vaporized at high temperatures and concentrated in the UF fraction through nucleation processes. Results evidenced the need to understand incidental particle formation mechanisms due to their direct implications on particle composition and, thus, exposure. It is advisable that personal exposure and subsequent risk assessments in occupational settings should include dedicated metrics to monitor UFPs (especially, incidental)

    Characterizing the Chemical Profile of Incidental Ultrafine Particles for Toxicity Assessment Using an Aerosol Concentrator

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    Incidental ultrafine particles (UFPs) constitute a key pollutant in industrial workplaces. However, characterizing their chemical properties for exposure and toxicity assessments still remains a challenge. In this work, the performance of an aerosol concentrator (Versatile Aerosol Concentration Enrichment System, VACES) was assessed to simultaneously sample UFPs on filter substrates (for chemical analysis) and as liquid suspensions (for toxicity assessment), in a high UFP concentration scenario. An industrial case study was selected where metal-containing UFPs were emitted during thermal spraying of ceramic coatings. Results evidenced the comparability of the VACES system with online monitors in terms of UFP particle mass (for concentrations up to 95 µg UFP/m3 ) and between filters and liquid suspensions, in terms of particle composition (for concentrations up to 1000 µg/ m3). This supports the applicability of this tool for UFP collection in view of chemical and toxicological characterization for incidental UFPs. In the industrial setting evaluated, results showed that the spraying temperature was a driver of fractionation of metals between UF (<0.2 µm) and fine (0.2– 2.5 µm) particles. Potentially health hazardous metals (Ni, Cr) were enriched in UFPs and depleted in the fine particle fraction. Metals vaporized at high temperatures and concentrated in the UF fraction through nucleation processes. Results evidenced the need to understand incidental particle formation mechanisms due to their direct implications on particle composition and, thus, exposure. It is advisable that personal exposure and subsequent risk assessments in occupational settings should include dedicated metrics to monitor UFPs (especially, incidental).What’s important about this paper: Our work addresses the challenge of characterizing the bulk chemical composition of ultrafine particles in occupational settings, for exposure and toxicity assessments. We tested the performance of an aerosol concentrator (VACES) to simultaneously sample ultrafine particles (UFPs) on filter substrates and as liquid suspensions, in a high UFP concentration scenario. An industrial case study was selected where metal-bearing UFPs were emitted. We report the chemical exposures characterized in the industrial facility, and evidence the comparability of the VACES system with online monitors for UFP particle mass (up to 95 µg UFP/m3) as well as between UFP chemical composition on filters and in suspension. This supports the applicability of this tool for UFP collection in view of chemical and toxicological characterization of exposures to incidental UFPs in workplace settings.Highlights: - The VACES system is a useful tool for UFP sampling in high-concentration settings; - UFP collected simultaneously on filters and in suspension showed good comparability; - UFP chemical profiles were characterized; - Health-hazardous metals Ni and Cr accumulated in UFPs; - Understanding emission mechanisms is key to identifying exposure sources.This work was funded by SIINN ERA-NET (project id: 16), the Spanish MINECO (PCIN-2015-173-C02-01) and the French agency (Region Hauts de France). The Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (Project CEX2018-000794-S; Severo Ochoa) and the Generalitat de Catalunya (project number: AGAUR 2017 SGR41) provided support for the indirect costs for the Institute of Environmental Assessment and Water Research (IDAEA-CSIC). We acknowledge support of the publication fee by the CSIC Open Access Publication Support Initiative through its Unit of Information Resources for Research (URICI).info:eu-repo/semantics/publishedVersio

    Comparison and complementary use of in situ and remote sensing aerosol measurements in the Athens Metropolitan Area

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    © 2020 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. This manuscript is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Licence http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/.In the summer of 2014 in situ and remote sensing instruments were deployed in Athens, in order to study the concentration, physical properties, and chemical composition of aerosols. In this manuscript we aim to combine the measurements of collocated in situ and remote sensing instruments by comparison and complementary use, in order to increase the accuracy of predictions concerning climate change and human health. We also develop a new method in order to select days when a direct comparison on in situ and remote sensing instruments is possible. On selected days that displayed significant turbulence up to approximately 1000 m above ground level (agl), we acquired the aerosol extinction or scattering coefficient by in situ instruments using three approaches. In the first approach the aerosol extinction coefficient was acquired by adding a Nephelometer scattering coefficient in ambient conditions and an Aethalometer absorption coefficient. The correlation between the in situ and remote sensing instruments was good (coefficient of determination R2 equal to 0.69). In the second approach we acquired the aerosol refractive index by fitting dry Nephelometer and Aethalometer measurements with Mie algorithm calculations of the scattering and absorption coefficients for the size distribution up to a maximum diameter of 1000 nm obtained by in situ instruments. The correlation in this case was relatively good (R2 equal to 0.56). Our next step was to compare the extinction coefficient acquired by remote sensing instruments to the scattering coefficient calculated by Mie algorithm using the size distribution up to a maximum diameter of 1000 nm and the equivalent refractive index (ERICOR), which is acquired by the comparison of the size distributions obtained by a Scanning Mobility Particle Sizer (SMPS) and an Optical Particle Counter (OPC). The agreement between the in situ and remote sensing instruments in this case was not satisfactory (R2 equal to 0.35). The last comparison for the selected days was between the aerosol extinction Ångström exponent acquired by in situ and remote sensing instruments. The correlation was not satisfactory (R2 equal to 0.4), probably due to differences in the number size distributions present in the air volumes measured by in situ and remote sensing instruments. We also present a day that a Saharan dust event occurred in Athens in order to demonstrate the information we obtain through the synergy of in situ and remote sensing instruments on how regional aerosol is added to local aerosol, especially during pollution events due to long range transport.Peer reviewe

    Characterizing the Chemical Profile of Incidental Ultrafine Particles for Toxicity Assessment Using an Aerosol Concentrator

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    Incidental ultrafine particles (UFPs) constitute a key pollutant in industrial workplaces. However, characterizing their chemical properties for exposure and toxicity assessments still remains a challenge. In this work, the performance of an aerosol concentrator (Versatile Aerosol Concentration Enrichment System, VACES) was assessed to simultaneously sample UFPs on filter substrates (for chemical analysis) and as liquid suspensions (for toxicity assessment), in a high UFP concentration scenario. An industrial case study was selected where metal-containing UFPs were emitted during thermal spraying of ceramic coatings. Results evidenced the comparability of the VACES system with online monitors in terms of UFP particle mass (for concentrations up to 95 µg UFP/m3) and between filters and liquid suspensions, in terms of particle composition (for concentrations up to 1000 µg/m3). This supports the applicability of this tool for UFP collection in view of chemical and toxicological characterization for incidental UFPs. In the industrial setting evaluated, results showed that the spraying temperature was a driver of fractionation of metals between UF (<0.2 µm) and fine (0.2-2.5 µm) particles. Potentially health hazardous metals (Ni, Cr) were enriched in UFPs and depleted in the fine particle fraction. Metals vaporized at high temperatures and concentrated in the UF fraction through nucleation processes. Results evidenced the need to understand incidental particle formation mechanisms due to their direct implications on particle composition and, thus, exposure. It is advisable that personal exposure and subsequent risk assessments in occupational settings should include dedicated metrics to monitor UFPs (especially, incidental)

    Characterizing the Chemical Profile of Incidental Ultrafine Particles for Toxicity Assessment Using an Aerosol Concentrator

    Get PDF
    Incidental ultrafine particles (UFPs) constitute a key pollutant in industrial workplaces. However, characterizing their chemical properties for exposure and toxicity assessments still remains a challenge. In this work, the performance of an aerosol concentrator (Versatile Aerosol Concentration Enrichment System, VACES) was assessed to simultaneously sample UFPs on filter substrates (for chemical analysis) and as liquid suspensions (for toxicity assessment), in a high UFP concentration scenario. An industrial case study was selected where metal-containing UFPs were emitted during thermal spraying of ceramic coatings. Results evidenced the comparability of the VACES system with online monitors in terms of UFP particle mass (for concentrations up to 95 µg UFP/m3) and between filters and liquid suspensions, in terms of particle composition (for concentrations up to 1000 µg/m3). This supports the applicability of this tool for UFP collection in view of chemical and toxicological characterization for incidental UFPs. In the industrial setting evaluated, results showed that the spraying temperature was a driver of fractionation of metals between UF (<0.2 µm) and fine (0.2-2.5 µm) particles. Potentially health hazardous metals (Ni, Cr) were enriched in UFPs and depleted in the fine particle fraction. Metals vaporized at high temperatures and concentrated in the UF fraction through nucleation processes. Results evidenced the need to understand incidental particle formation mechanisms due to their direct implications on particle composition and, thus, exposure. It is advisable that personal exposure and subsequent risk assessments in occupational settings should include dedicated metrics to monitor UFPs (especially, incidental)

    A new optical-based technique for real-time measurements of mineral dust concentration in PM10 using a virtual impactor

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    Atmospheric mineral dust influences Earth’s radiative budget, cloud formation, and lifetimehas adverse health effectsand affects air quality through the increase of regulatory PM10 concentrations, making its real-time quantification in the atmosphere of strategic importance. Only few near-real-time techniques can discriminate dust aerosol in PM10 samples and they are based on the dust chemical composition. The online determination of mineral dust using aerosol absorption photometers offers an interesting and competitive alternative but remains a difficult task to achieve. This is particularly challenging when dust is mixed with black carbon, which features a much higher mass absorption cross section. We build on previous work using filter photometers and present here for the first time a highly timeresolved online technique for quantification of mineral dust concentration by coupling a high-flow virtual impactor (VI) sampler that concentrates coarse particles with an aerosol absorption photometer (Aethalometer, model AE33). The absorption of concentrated dust particles is obtained by subtracting the absorption of the submicron (PM1) aerosol fraction from the absorption of the virtual impactor sample (VIPM1 method). This real-time method for detecting desert dust was tested in the field for a period of 2 months (April and May 2016) at a regional background site of Cyprus, in the Eastern Mediterranean. Several intense desert mineral dust events were observed during the field campaign with dust concentration in PM10 up to 45 μg
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