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Characterization of a Piezoelectric Inkjet Aerosol Generator for the Study of Bioaerosol Survivability

Category: Aerosol Physics and Instrumentation

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DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2018.07.0254

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Chih-Wei Lin1, Ting-Ho Kuo1, Sheng-Hsiu Huang1, Yu-Mei Kuo 2, Wen-Jong Wu3, Chih-Chieh Chen 1

  • 1 Graduate Institute of Occupational Medicine and Industrial Hygiene, College of Public Health, National Taiwan University, Taipei 10055, Taiwan
  • 2 Department of Occupational Safety and Health, Chung Hwa University of Medical Technology, Tainan 71703, Taiwan
  • 3 Department of Engineering Science and Ocean Engineering, National Taiwan University, Taipei 10617, Taiwan


A piezoelectric inkjet print head is useful for generating viable aerosols.
The generation of inkjet droplets is governed by pulse width and input voltage.
The particle generation can be controlled by adjusting the actuation frequency.


In laboratory-based bioaerosol researches, the stable and reliable bioaerosol generation with minimal damage to microorganisms is important. In this work, a thermally-consistent inkjet-based aerosol generation technique was adopted to generate bioaerosols and the performance on the preservation of microbial survivability was assessed. First, the performance of a piezoelectric inkjet aerosol generator was characterized using a potassium sodium tartrate solution and an aqueous suspension of 3-µm polystyrene latex spheres, respectively. An aerodynamic particle sizer was employed to measure the aerosol number concentration and size distribution. The main operating parameters of the inkjet print head for viable aerosol generation included driving voltage, pulse duration, dispersion air flow, pulse frequency and volume fraction of solids in the nebulizing liquid. For bioaerosol survival experiments, yeast was used as the test microorganism. The nebulized yeast cells were exposed to varying relative humidity for different residence times by sampling at different distance from the outlet of the inkjet aerosol generator. Three bioaerosol samplers including a BioSampler, a gelatin filter cassette and a Marple cascade impactor with Mylar film were used to collect airborne yeast samples. The yeast survival was determined by methylene blue viable staining. This study successfully demonstrated the feasibility and the merit of using a piezoelectric inkjet print head for generating viable aerosols. A square wave with appropriate combinations of voltage and pulse duration could drive the inkjet system to squeeze liquid with rheological properties similar to water and the particle generation rate could be manipulated by adjusting the pulse frequency. Moreover, dispersion air was required to reduce coagulation. The greater the volume fraction of spheres (Fv), the fewer the number of droplets with no PSL spheres that formed, but high Fv reduced the probability singlet particles.


Survivability Piezoelectric inkjet Aerosol generation Bioaerosols

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