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A modular tool for analyzing cascade impactors data to improve exposure assessment to airborne nanomaterials

Abstract : Cascade impactors are widely used to provide particle size distributions for the study of aerosols in workplaces and ambient air. In the frame of exposure assessment to airborne particles, one of their main advantages is the possibility to perform further off-line analysis (e.g. electron microscopy, physical-chemical characterization by XRD, ICP-MS, etc.) on the collected samples according to particle size. However, the large channel width makes the particle size distributions not enough size-resolved. Furthermore, in spite of the sharpness of the collection efficiency curves, the existence of an overlap between stages renders data interpretation difficult. This work aim was to develop a modular program allowing the inversion of data stemming from cascade impactors based on the mass (or any quantity) collected on each impaction stage. Through a precise description of the collection efficiency curves of the different stages, the software provides a continuous curve (from 100 to 1000 points) using the Markowski method, and more particularly the Twomey iterative algorithm, according to several publications about inverse problems in cascade impactors. An additional option consists in determining the experimental error at each point of the inverse curve, performed by realizing several consecutive inversions. The inversion procedure was first tested and optimized for the case of the SIOUTAS personal sampler. Validation of the calculation was performed considering theoretical aerosols. Then, the software was used for two sets of data obtained during field measurement campaigns.
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Sébastien Bau, Olivier Witschger. A modular tool for analyzing cascade impactors data to improve exposure assessment to airborne nanomaterials. Journal of Physics: Conference Series, IOP Publishing, 2013, 429, pp.012002. ⟨10.1088/1742-6596/429/1/012002⟩. ⟨hal-00968127⟩

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