Design and evaluation of a portable dilution sampling system for measuring fine particle emissions from combustion systems

Eric M. Lipsky, Allen L. Robinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


The size and complexity of current dilution samplers is a major barrier to more wide-spread application of these systems for source characterization. A new, more portable dilution sampler has been designed to provide measurements consistent with the widely cited Caltech dilution sampler. Intercomparison experiments were performed using a diesel engine and wood stove to evaluate the comparability of the new design with a sampler based on the Caltech design. These experiments involved simultaneous operation of multiple dilution samplers from the same source. Filter based measurements included PM2.5 mass, organic carbon, and elemental carbon emissions. Particle size distributions in the range from 10-480 nm were measured using a scanning mobility particle sizer. The filter-based and integrated-total volume measurements made with the two designs are in good agreement. For example, the average relative bias between the two samplers of PM2.5 mass emission rate measured with Teflon filters is 1%. Nucleation was intermittently observed in the sampler based on the Caltech design, but rarely observed in the new design. Significant discrepancies in total number emissions between the two samplers occurred during periods of nucleation. Experiments were also conducted to examine the effects of residence time on the diluted emissions. No changes in the filter-based or integrated volume measurements were observed with an additional 40-s residence time, indicating that phase equilibrium is established in the 2.5 s of residence time provided by the dilution tunnel. This conclusion is consistent with theoretical analysis. These results provide new insight into the effects of dilution sampling on measurements of fine particle emissions, providing important data for the ongoing effort of the EPA and ASTM to define a standardized dilution sampling methodology for characterizing emissions from stationary combustion sources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)542-553
Number of pages12
JournalAerosol Science and Technology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Pollution


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