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Uncertainty budget in the measurement of typical airborne number, surface area and mass particle distributions

Bounanno, G., Johnson, G., Morawska, L>, & Stabile, L. (2009) Uncertainty budget in the measurement of typical airborne number, surface area and mass particle distributions. Aerosol Science and Technology, 43(11), pp. 1130-1141.

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Abstract

The effects of particulate matter on environment and public health have been widely studied in recent years. A number of studies in the medical field have tried to identify the specific effect on human health of particulate exposure, but agreement amongst these studies on the relative importance of the particles’ size and its origin with respect to health effects is still lacking. Nevertheless, air quality standards are moving, as the epidemiological attention, towards greater focus on the smaller particles. Current air quality standards only regulate the mass of particulate matter less than 10 μm in aerodynamic diameter (PM10) and less than 2.5 μm (PM2.5). The most reliable method used in measuring Total Suspended Particles (TSP), PM10, PM2.5 and PM1 is the gravimetric method since it directly measures PM concentration, guaranteeing an effective traceability to international standards. This technique however, neglects the possibility to correlate short term intra-day variations of atmospheric parameters that can influence ambient particle concentration and size distribution (emission strengths of particle sources, temperature, relative humidity, wind direction and speed and mixing height) as well as human activity patterns that may also vary over time periods considerably shorter than 24 hours. A continuous method to measure the number size distribution and total number concentration in the range 0.014 – 20 μm is the tandem system constituted by a Scanning Mobility Particle Sizer (SMPS) and an Aerodynamic Particle Sizer (APS). In this paper, an uncertainty budget model of the measurement of airborne particle number, surface area and mass size distributions is proposed and applied for several typical aerosol size distributions. The estimation of such an uncertainty budget presents several difficulties due to i) the complexity of the measurement chain, ii) the fact that SMPS and APS can properly guarantee the traceability to the International System of Measurements only in terms of number concentration. In fact, the surface area and mass concentration must be estimated on the basis of separately determined average density and particle morphology. Keywords: SMPS-APS tandem system, gravimetric reference method, uncertainty budget, ultrafine particles.

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14 citations in Scopus
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ID Code: 29231
Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: SMPS-APS, Particulate Matter, PM1, PM2.5, PM10
DOI: 10.1080/02786820903204078
ISSN: 0278-6826
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EARTH SCIENCES (040000) > ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES (040100) > Atmospheric Sciences not elsewhere classified (040199)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PHYSICAL SCIENCES (020000) > ATOMIC MOLECULAR NUCLEAR PARTICLE AND PLASMA PHYSICS (020200) > Particle Physics (020203)
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Past > Schools > School of Physical & Chemical Sciences
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2009 American Association for Aerosol Research
Deposited On: 11 Dec 2009 11:51
Last Modified: 11 Aug 2011 03:35

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