Malvern Particle Sizer Helps Assess Health Risks of Volcanic Ash

The Mastersizer 2000 laser diffraction particle size analyzer from Malvern Panalytical is one of the first instruments applied by scientists when assessing the respiratory health hazard of volcanic ash. Dr Claire Horwell, Director of the International Volcanic Health Hazard Network, receives volcanic ash samples from all over the world at her lab at Durham University, UK.

Working within the Institute of Hazard Risk and Resilience, Dr Horwell's remit is to provide rapid advice as to the likely health hazard of ash from particular volcanoes to support agencies working at the site of the eruption. Clearly the events of this year with the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland and the effect on air travel have heightened awareness internationally of this work.

"The Mastersizer 2000 is the first instrument we turn to with a new sample," explains Dr Horwell, "because it quickly provides a reliable measurement of the grain size of the volcanic ash, and in particular, quantifies what fraction of the ash lies in the sub- 4 micron range. Material in this range will tend to deposit in the deep lung if inhaled. If we find an appreciable respiratory risk we can advise those working on the ground and can go on to carry out further tests that quantify the potential for harm in greater detail."

The volcanic samples are measured following ultrasonication of the ash in water in order to achieve full dispersion of any very fine particles, which may form strongly-bound agglomerates during eruption and sample transport. This ensures that the primary grain size is measured and avoids underestimation of the respiratory hazard. The dispersion process is fully automated within the Mastersizer 2000 system, allowing measurements to be completed in just a few minutes.

The amount of ash in the sub-4 micron region varies considerably. Research suggests it can lie anywhere in the range 0 to 17% depending on the style of the eruption and the distance from the volcano. For samples containing health-threatening quantities of inhalable fines, compositional analysis provides more detailed information as to the likely impact of the ash in vivo.

The IVHHN is an umbrella organization launched in 2003 that provides research and information on volcanic health hazards. It currently involves 31 experts from 25 international institutions. Working across diverse scientific disciplines such as volcanology, epidemiology, toxicology, public health and physical chemistry, these experts share the common aim of determining the health effects of volcanic emissions.

Citations

Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Malvern Panalytical. (2019, February 10). Malvern Particle Sizer Helps Assess Health Risks of Volcanic Ash. AZoM. Retrieved on February 29, 2024 from https://www.azom.com/news.aspx?newsID=26568.

  • MLA

    Malvern Panalytical. "Malvern Particle Sizer Helps Assess Health Risks of Volcanic Ash". AZoM. 29 February 2024. <https://www.azom.com/news.aspx?newsID=26568>.

  • Chicago

    Malvern Panalytical. "Malvern Particle Sizer Helps Assess Health Risks of Volcanic Ash". AZoM. https://www.azom.com/news.aspx?newsID=26568. (accessed February 29, 2024).

  • Harvard

    Malvern Panalytical. 2019. Malvern Particle Sizer Helps Assess Health Risks of Volcanic Ash. AZoM, viewed 29 February 2024, https://www.azom.com/news.aspx?newsID=26568.

Tell Us What You Think

Do you have a review, update or anything you would like to add to this news story?

Leave your feedback
Your comment type
Submit
Azthena logo

AZoM.com powered by Azthena AI

Your AI Assistant finding answers from trusted AZoM content

Your AI Powered Scientific Assistant

Hi, I'm Azthena, you can trust me to find commercial scientific answers from AZoNetwork.com.

A few things you need to know before we start. Please read and accept to continue.

  • Use of “Azthena” is subject to the terms and conditions of use as set out by OpenAI.
  • Content provided on any AZoNetwork sites are subject to the site Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.
  • Large Language Models can make mistakes. Consider checking important information.

Great. Ask your question.

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.