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Investigation of the Performance of Airliner Cabin Air Filters throughout Lifetime Usage

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Volume: 13 | Issue: 5 | Pages: 1544-1551
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2012.11.0330
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Bin Xu1, Junjie Liu 2, Shengxiong Ren2, Weiyou Yin2, Qingyan Chen2,3

  • 1 State Key Laboratory of Pollution Control and Resource Reuse, Tongji University, 1239 Siping Road, Shanghai 200092, China
  • 2 School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Tianjin University, 92 Weijin Road, Tianjin, 300072, China
  • 3 School of Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA


The air supply from an airliner ventilation system is a mixture of outside air and recirculated air that passes through a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. The effectiveness of two commercial-available airliner cabin air filters were investigated in laboratory-based measurements due to the practical restrictions on airliner cabin filter testing during usage. The filtration efficiency and pressure drop were assessed at a particle size range of 20–500 nm under various airflow rates throughout the filter usage period. The Most Penetrating Particle Sizes (MPPS) were observed at ~150 and ~55 nm, where the filtration efficiency was 86% and 99% at the rated airflow rates (1600 m3/h and 1970 m3/h), respectively. The filtration efficiency decreased in response to the increased airflow rate from 1000 m3/h to 2200 m3/h, with the greatest reduction (~10%) occurring at MPPS. An increase of 250 Pa in the pressure drop across the filter was observed as the airflow rate increased from 1000 m3/h to 2200 m3/h. Increased filter usage led to increases in both filtration efficiency and the pressure drop. The actual filter usage was estimated using dust loading in the laboratory. Filtration efficiency increased ~10% and the pressure drop increased ~800% when 220 g/m2 dust was loaded on the filer, corresponding to ~6000 hours filter usage at an in-cabin PM10 concentration of 100 μg/m3. Explicit relationships among filtration efficiency, pressure drop and filter usage under various in-cabin particle concentrations are presented as a reference to facilitate the use of more appropriate airliner cabin air filter exchange periods.


In-cabin particles Particle filtration Dust loading Filtration efficiency Pressure drop

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