Comparative particulate sampling methods

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Virginia Tech

At present, there are several methods of determining the mass concentration of suspended particulate matter in ambient air. Most of these methods, including the EPA reference method, require manual filtering and weighing of the collected sample. This is both costly and time-consuming and is subject to a considerable amount of human error. Another serious drawback to most of these procedures is the long (24 hour) sampling times required, and the resultant insensitivity to fluctuations due to the long averaging intervals.

The piezoelectric microbalance and high volume sampler techniques were employed in this investigation to measure the mass of ambient undifferentiated particulate matter. The results were compared and conclusions drawn concerning the feasibility of using the piezoelectric microbalance along with or in place of the high volume sampler for measurement of ambient particulate matter.

It was found that the piezoelectric microbalance can be used in place of or along with the high volume sampler but consideration must be given to the fact that the piezoelectric microbalance will give lower average particulate concentration readings depending on the particle size distribution of the ambient particulate matter being sampled.