Health problems caused through the long standing problem of airborne powder particles could soon be a thing of the past, thanks to a novel technique for monitoring airborne powder particles say experts at CERAM.
As a key member of a European Community Framework VI project, CERAM has the responsibility of coordinating testing and sampling of the Wide Range Aerosol Sampler (WRAS) at sites throughout the UK.
WRAS, which was originally developed by scientists at Middlesex University, differs from standard personal hygiene samplers because it uses a pump to draw air through an isokinetic inlet and onto a series of glass slides. Particles travel different distances, depending on their size, before deposition onto one of 7 glass slides. By weighing and carrying out XRD on each of the 7 samples, a particle size distribution for different chemistries can be derived.
Such size distributions can play a critical part in both shaping legislation and ensuring worker health.
Dave Cartlidge of CERAM explained: “Larger particles, when inhaled, have a lower probability of reaching the inner lung, whilst very small particles may be rendered harmless through dissolution in the inner lung fluid. Through mathematical modelling linked to toxicology studies it is possible to predict mg/m-3 level of particles likely to cause harm (which will be a fraction of the total mg m-3 level).”
WRAS can be adapted for monitoring nano as well as micron sized particles and is available for factory monitoring.
For more information on materials testing, click here.