Design of a Real-Time Scanning Electrical Mobility Spectrometer and its Application in Study of Nanoparticle Aerosol Generation
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A real-time, mobile Scanning Electrical Mobility Spectrometer (SEMS) was designed using a Condensation Particle Counter (CPC) and Differential Mobility Analyzer (DMA) to measure the size distribution of nanoparticles. The SEMS was calibrated using monodisperse Polystyrene Latex (PSL) particles, and was then applied to study the size distribution of TiO2 nanoparticle aerosols generated by spray drying water suspensions of the nanoparticles. The nanoparticle aerosol size distribution, the effect of surfactant, and the effect of residual solvent droplets were determined. The SEMS system was designed by integrating the Electrical System, the Fluid Flow System, and the SEMS Software. It was calibrated using aerosolized Polystyrene Latex (PSL) spheres with nominal diameters of 99 nm and 204 nm. TiO2 nanoparticle aerosols were generated by atomizing water suspensions of TiO2 nanoparticles using a Collison nebulizer. Size distribution of the TiO2 aerosol was measured by the SEMS, as well as by TEM. Furthermore, the effect of surfactant, Tween 20 at four different concentrations between 0.01mM and 0.80mM, and stability of aerosol concentration with time were studied. It was hypothesized that residual particles in DI water observed during the calibration process were a mixture of impurities in water and unevaporated droplets. Solid impurities were captured on TEM grids using a point-to-plane Electrostatic Precipitator (ESP) and analyzed by Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (EDS) while the contribution of unevaporated liquid droplets to residual particles was confirmed by size distribution measurements of aerosolized DI water in different humidity conditions. The calibration indicated that the mode diameter was found to be at 92.5nm by TEM and 95.8nm by the SEMS for 99nm nominal diameter particles, a difference of 3.6%. Similarly, the mode diameter for 204nm nominal diameter particles was found to be 194.9nm by TEM and 191nm by SEMS, a difference of 2.0%. Measurements by SEMS for TiO2 aerosol generated by Collison nebulizer indicated the mode diameters of 3mM, 6mM, and 9mM concentrations of TiO2 suspension to be 197.5nm, 200.0nm and 195.2nm respectively. On the other hand, the mode diameter was found to be approximately 95nm from TEM analysis of TiO2 powder. Additionally, concentration of particles generated decreased with time. Dynamic Light Scattering (DLS) measurements indicated agglomeration of particles in the suspension. Furthermore, the emulation of single particle distribution was not possible even after using Tween 20 in concentrations between 0.01mM and 0.80mM. From the study of residual particles in DI water, it was found that residual particles observed during the aerosolization of suspensions of DI water were composed of impurities present in DI water and unevaporated droplets of DI water. Although it was possible to observe solid residual particles on the TEM grid, EDS was not able to determine the chemical composition of these particles.
Singh, Gagan (2010). Design of a Real-Time Scanning Electrical Mobility Spectrometer and its Application in Study of Nanoparticle Aerosol Generation. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from