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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 11, issue 8 | Copyright
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 11, 4617-4626, 2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 09 Aug 2018

Research article | 09 Aug 2018

Effects of temperature, pressure, and carrier gases on the performance of an aerosol particle mass analyser

Ta-Chih Hsiao1,3, Li-Hao Young2, Yu-Chun Tai3, and Po-Kai Chang1 Ta-Chih Hsiao et al.
  • 1Graduate Institute of Environmental Engineering, National Taiwan University, Taipei, 10673, Taiwan
  • 2Department of Occupational Safety and Health, China Medical University, Taichung, 40402, Taiwan
  • 3Graduate Institute of Environmental Engineering, National Central University, Taoyuan, 32001, Taiwan

Abstract. Effective density is a crucial parameter used to predict the transport behaviour and fate of particles in the atmosphere, and to measure instruments used ultimately in the human respiratory tract (Ristimäki et al., 2002). The aerosol particle mass analyser (APM) was first proposed by Ehara et al. (1996) and is used to determine the effective density of aerosol particles. A compact design (Kanomax APM-3601) was subsequently developed by Tajima et al. (2013). Recently, a growing number of field studies have reported application of the APM, and experimental schemes using the differential mobility analyser alongside the APM have been adopted extensively. However, environmental conditions such as ambient pressure and temperature vary with the experimental location, and this could affect the performance of the APM. Gas viscosity and Cunningham slip factors are parameters associated with temperature and pressure and are included in the APM's classification performance parameter: λ. In this study, the effects of temperature and pressure were analysed through theoretical calculation, and the influence of varying carrier gas was experimentally evaluated. The transfer function and APM operational region were further calculated and discussed to examine their applicability. Based on the theoretical analysis of the APM's operational region, the mass detection limits are changed with the properties of carrier gases under a chosen λ value. Moreover, the detection limit can be lowered when the pressure is reduced, which implies that performance may be affected during field study. In experimental evaluation, air, oxygen, and carbon dioxide were selected to atomize aerosols in the laboratory with the aim of evaluating the effect of gas viscosity on the APM's performance. Using monodisperse polystyrene latex (PSL) spheres with nominal diameters of 50 and 100nm, the classification performance of the APM was slightly varied with carrier gases, while the classification accuracy was consistently within 10%.

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Short summary
Ambient pressure and temperature can vary with location, which implies that classifying aerosol particle mass using APM might be influenced at high-altitude sites. On the other hand, when using the APM as a particle classifier coupled with inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, argon would be required as the carrier gas. Therefore, air, oxygen and carbon dioxide were selected as carrier gases to evaluate the effect of gas viscosity and the mean free path on the performance of APM.
Ambient pressure and temperature can vary with location, which implies that classifying aerosol...