Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Ultra-fine Particles, Particularly Harmful To Health, Can Now Be Traced

Date:
October 6, 2009
Source:
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
Summary:
Limit values for fine dust emissions are based on total particle weight. It is the ultra-fine particles, however, that are particularly harmful to health. A new technique separates them by size and identifies their composition -- directly where they arise.

Limit values for fine dust emissions are based on total particle weight. It is the ultra-fine particles, however, that are particularly harmful to health. A new technique separates them by size and identifies their composition -- directly where they arise.
Credit: Image courtesy of Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft

Limit values for fine dust emissions are based on total particle weight. It is the ultra-fine particles, however, that are particularly harmful to health. A new technique separates them by size and identifies their composition – directly where they arise.

Fine particle emissions have been the subject of heated debate for years. People who live near industrial plants see the smoke being discharged into the atmosphere and wonder how harmful it is. But visible emissions are not always the most harmful. The highest risk is posed by fine dust particles which can easily penetrate the human organism. These ultra-fine particles are difficult to measure, however, because they are less than 100 nanometers in diameter.

Research scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen have developed a technique by which the composition of such particles can be precisely analyzed. “The statutory limit values for fine particle emissions are based on the total particle weight,” explains Dr. Cord Fricke-Begemann, project manager at the ILT. “Large particles are, however, much heavier than small ones. Weight measurements do not provide any information on the quantity of ultra-fine particles in the fine dust, but they are often more harmful than the larger particles.”

The measurement technique developed by the research scientists consists of two steps. A gas stream separates the particles into size classes before they are collected on filters. Their composition is then examined by means of laser emission spectroscopy. “We are therefore able to identify harmful heavy and transition metals, such as zinc, in the fine dust, and also to ascertain the particle size at which they become particularly enriched,” explains Fricke-Begemann. A key aspect of the method is that it delivers the results in less than 20 minutes. What’s more, it can work at a high throughput rate and enables measurements to be taken directly on site – e.g. in steel plants. Emission values can be measured and monitored in real time during production thanks to a further development of the technique in which the particles are continuously drawn off via an air tube and analyzed.

All industrial plants produce fine dust emissions, and every process leaves behind a characteristic “fingerprint” of the particle composition and size distribution. With their measurement method the scientists can test the air in nearby residential areas and identify where the particles are from. They can also help to develop strategies for reducing emissions from the plants concerned.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. "Ultra-fine Particles, Particularly Harmful To Health, Can Now Be Traced." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 October 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091005094919.htm>.
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. (2009, October 6). Ultra-fine Particles, Particularly Harmful To Health, Can Now Be Traced. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091005094919.htm
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. "Ultra-fine Particles, Particularly Harmful To Health, Can Now Be Traced." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091005094919.htm (accessed August 22, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Friday, August 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Microbrewery Chooses Special Can for Its Beer

Microbrewery Chooses Special Can for Its Beer

AP (Aug. 22, 2014) — Aluminum giant, Novelis, has partnered with Red Hare Brewing Company to introduce the first certified high-content recycled beverage can. (Aug. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Farm Resurgence Grows With Younger Crowd

Farm Resurgence Grows With Younger Crowd

AP (Aug. 22, 2014) — New England farms are seeing a surge in younger farm hands as the 'buy local' food movement grows across the country. (Aug. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
California Drought Stings Honeybees, Beekeepers

California Drought Stings Honeybees, Beekeepers

AP (Aug. 21, 2014) — California's record drought is hurting honey supplies and raising prices for consumers. The lack of rainfall means fewer crops and wildflowers that provide the nectar bees need to make honey. (Aug. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Of Species Found In Lake Under Antarctic Ice

Thousands Of Species Found In Lake Under Antarctic Ice

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) — A U.S. team found nearly 4,000 species in a subglacial lake that hasn't seen sunlight in millennia, showing life can thrive even under the ice. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins