A new approach to sampling for particle size and chemical species 'Fingerprinting' of workplace aerosols

Steven M. Kerr, James H. Vincent, Gurumurthy Ramachandran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


A commercially-available, high-volume (28.3 Lpm) Andersen-type cascade impactor was modified in order to extend its operational range further into the range of large inhalable particles for purposes of use in an exposure assessment study in the primary nickel production industry. The modification involved incorporating a 10-ppi (pores per inch) porous plastic foam top stage that has a wide penetration curve with a 50dae-value of approximately 27 μm. This enabled the upper end of the range of the instrument to be extended from about 10 to greater than 70 μm. The inlet of the original instrument was also modified to incorporate the new top stage and provide 'representative' aspiration of total airborne particulate with an efficiency of close to 100% over the range of aerodynamic particle sizes of interest. A mathematical inversion algorithm developed in earlier research was modified so that it could be applied to this new instrument. This enabled raw data on particulate material recovered from all stages of the instrument (including the new porous foam top stage) to be used for the determination of continuous particle size distributions, as well as chemical speciation, over the inhalable range. The new instrument was deployed in a pilot field study in the nickel primary production industry by which to demonstrate the potential of the new instrument for generating useful information pertaining to health-relevant aerosol size tractions (e.g., inhalable, thoracic, and respirable), and for soluble, sulphidic, metallic, oxidic and total nickel chemical species groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)555-568
Number of pages14
JournalAnnals of Occupational Hygiene
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Cascade impactor
  • Inhalable aerosol
  • Nickel
  • Particle size distribution
  • Porous foam media
  • Speciation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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