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Size-Resolved Characterization of Particles and Fibers Released during Abrasion of Fiber-Reinforced Composite in a Workplace Influenced by Ambient Background Sources

Category: Aerosol Physics and Instrumentation

Volume: 16 | Issue: 1 | Pages: 11-24
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2015.05.0295
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Kirsten I. Kling 1, Marcus Levin1,2, Alexander C.Ø. Jensen1, Keld A. Jensen1, Ismo K. Koponen1

  • 1 National Research Centre for the Working Environment, 2100 Copenhagen, Denmark
  • 2 Department of Nanotechnology, Technical University of Denmark, 2800 Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark


Fibers were emitted from the sanding of a fiber reinforced composite.
Fibers were also found on samplers installed on persons, as well in far field.
The fibers in the respirable size range and are of glass and carbon.
The production site is strongly influenced by one or more ambient background sources.
We provide size-resolved chemical classification of emission particles and background.


We demonstrate the use of high- to low-resolution microscopy and particle chemical analysis during normal vacuum and cryo-conditions to identify the nature and relative abundances of process-generated particles and fibers from sanding of a glass and carbon fiber epoxy layer-composite in a workplace influenced by both indoor and ambient background sources. The study suggests that a proper exposure characterization requires multiple techniques covering wide size ranges to reach a conclusion. Besides a rise in number concentration due to release of particles during the sanding, a significant contribution of ambient particles to the background in the production facility was observed in the sub-micron size range. Fibers are posing a dominant exposure risk in the micron size range, with carbon fibers dominating in count.


Fiber mats Particle identification Epoxy Production emission HR-TEM

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