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J Hazard Mater. 2012 May 30;217-218:51-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2012.02.058. Epub 2012 Mar 2.

Impact of two particle measurement techniques on the determination of N95 class respirator filtration performance against ultrafine particles.

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  • 1Department of Building, Civil and Environmental Engineering Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


The purpose of this experimental study was to compare two different particle measurement devices; an Electrical Low Pressure Impactor (ELPI) and a Scanning Mobility Particle Sizer (SMPS), to measure the number concentration and the size distribution of NaCl salt aerosols to determine the collection efficiency of filtering respirators against poly disperse aerosols. Tests were performed on NIOSH approved N95 filtering face-piece respirators (FFR), sealed on a manikin head. Ultrafine particles found in the aerosols were also collected and observed by transmission electron microscopy (TEM). According to the results, there is a systematic difference for the particle size distribution measured by the SMPS and the ELPI. It is largely attributed to the difference in the measurement techniques. However, in spite of these discrepancies, reasonably similar trends were found for the number concentration with both measuring instruments. The particle penetration, calculated based on mobility and aerodynamic diameters, never exceeded 5% for any size range measured at constant flow rate of 85 L/min. Also, the most penetrating particle size (MPPS), with the lowest filtration efficiency, would occur at a similar ultrafine size range <100 nm. With the ELPI, the MPPS was at 70 nm aerodynamic diameter, whereas it occurred at 40 nm mobility diameter with the SMPS.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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