Development and laboratory characterization of a prototype coarse particle concentrator for inhalation toxicological studies

Philip Demokritou, Tarun Gupta, Stephen Ferguson, Petros Koutrakis

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26 Scopus citations


This paper presents the development and laboratory characterization of a prototype slit nozzle virtual impactor that can be used to concentrate coarse particles. A variety of physical design and flow parameters were evaluated including different acceleration and collection slit nozzles and Reynolds numbers (Re). Performance parameters investigated include concentration factor (CF), cutpoint, collection efficiency, minor-to-total flow ratio, and particle losses.Investigation of the effect of the different parameters on the overall performance of the virtual impactor made it possible to optimize its design. For a flow rate of 11.4 LPM/cm length of the acceleration slit, Re of 2520, and a 5% minor-to-total-flow ratio (r), the corresponding size cut-off (d50) was 2.4μm. Under these conditions the CF is approximately 17 and remains constant for particles larger than 3μm. Also for these conditions the pressure drop in both the minor and major flows were <13Pa(0.05in water) and 448Pa(1.8in water), respectively, and average particle losses were <10%. Finally, separation and concentration of the coarse particles occurred without any significant distortion of their size distribution making this system suitable for inhalation toxicological studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1111-1123
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Aerosol Science
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Pollution
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes
  • Atmospheric Science


  • Atmospheric aerosols
  • Coarse particles
  • Inhalation studies
  • Particle concentrators
  • Particle health effects
  • Virtual impactors


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