Aspiration and sampling efficiencies of the TSP and louvered particulate matter inlets
An experimental system was developed for the rapid measurement of the aspiration/transfer efficiency of aerosol samplers in a wind tunnel. We attempted to measure the aspiration and particle transfer characteristics of two inlets commonly used for sampling airborne Particulate Matter ( PM): the 'Total Suspended Particulate' or TSP inlet, and the louvered 'dichotomous sampler inlet' typically used in sampling PM10 or PM2.5. We were able to determine the fraction of the external aerosol that enters the inlet and is transferred through it, and hence is available for collection by a filter, or further size fractionation into PM10 or PM2.5. This 'sampling efficiency' was analysed as a function of dimensionless aerodynamic parameters in order to understand the factors governing inlet performance. We found that for the louvered inlet the sampling efficiency increases as the external wind increases. Under all conditions expected in practical use the louvered inlet aspirates sufficient PM to allow either PM10 or PM2.5 to be selected downstream. The TSP inlet's sampling efficiency decreases with increasing external wind, and the TSP inlet is likely to under-sample the coarse end of the PM10 fraction at moderate and high external winds. As this inlet is generally not used with a downstream size fractionator, changes in sampling efficiency directly affect the measured aerosol concentration. We also investigated whether it is possible to dimensionally scale the PM inlets to operate at either higher or lower flow rates, while preserving the same sampling characteristics as the current full-scale, 16.67 L min(-1) versions. In the case of the louvered inlet, our results indicate that scaling to lower flow rates is possible; scaling to higher flow rates was not tested. For the TSP sampler, the sampling efficiency changes if the sampler is scaled to operate at smaller or larger flow rates, leading to unreliable performance.