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Can We Trust Real Time Measurements of Lung Deposited Surface Area Concentrations in Dust from Powder Nanomaterials?

Category: Aerosol Physics and Instrumentation

Volume: 16 | Issue: 5 | Pages: 1105-1117
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2015.06.0413
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Marcus Levin 1,2, Olivier Witschger3, Sébastien Bau3, Elzbieta Jankowska4, Ismo K. Koponen2, Antti J. Koivisto2, Per A. Clausen2, Alexander Jensen2, Kristian Mølhave1, Christof Asbach5, Keld A. Jensen2

  • 1 Department of Micro and Nanotechnology, Technical University of Denmark, Kgs. Lyngby, DK-2800, Denmark
  • 2 National Research Centre for the Working Environment, Lersø Parkallé 105, DK-2100 Copenhagen, Denmark
  • 3 Institut National de Recherche et de Sécurité, Rue du Morvan, FR-54500 Vandoeuvre les Nancy, France
  • 4 Centraly Instytut Ochrony Pracy – Państwowy Instytut Badawczy, Zakład Zagrożeń Chemicznych, Pyłowych i Biologicznych, ul Czerniakowska 16, PL-00701 Warsaw, Poland
  • 5 Institut für Energie- und Umwelttechnik (IUTA), 47229 Duisburg, Germany


Techniques for real-time measurement of lung deposited surface area were compared.
Measurements were conducted on agglomerated dust particles.
A material dependent difference between instruments was found.
Up to 10 times difference in lung deposited surface area between instruments.
Very good agreement between BET and ELPI with use of material specific surface area.


A comparison between various methods for real-time measurements of lung deposited surface area (LDSA) using spherical particles and powder dust with specific surface area ranging from 0.03 to 112 m2 g–1 was conducted. LDSA concentrations measured directly using Nanoparticle Surface Area Monitor (NSAM) and Aerotrak and were compared to LDSA concentrations recalculated from size distribution measurements using Electrical Low Pressure Impactor (ELPI) and Fast Mobility Particle Sizer (FMPS). FMPS and ELPI measurements were also compared to dust surface area concentrations estimated from gravimetrical filter measurements and specific surface areas.

Measurement of LDSA showed very good correlation in measurements of spherical particles (R2 > 0.97, Ratio 1.0 to 1.04). High surface area nanomaterial powders showed a fairly reliable correlation between NSAM and Aerotrak (R2 0.73–0.93) and a material-dependent offset in the ratios (1.04–2.8). However, the correlation and ratio were inconsistent for lower LDSA concentrations. Similar levels of correlation were observed for the NSAM and the FMPS for high surface area materials, but with the FMPS overestimating the LDSA concentration. The ELPI showed good correlation with NSAM data for high LDSA materials (R2 0.87–0.93), but not for lower LDSA concentrations (R2 0.50–0.72). Comparisons of respirable dust surface area from ELPI data correlated well (R2 > 0.98) with that calculated from filter samples, but materials-specific exceptions were present.

We conclude that there is currently insufficient reliability and comparability between methods in the measurement of LDSA concentrations. Further development is required to enable use of LDSA for reliable dose metric and regulatory enforcement of exposure.


Lung deposited surface area Exposure assessment Aerosol measurement Dustiness

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