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The Airborne Particle Monitoring Station

January 31, 2008

On the southeast side of the Nanotechnology sim, there’s an Airborne Particle Monitoring Station. It’s a trailer with instruments that NPL uses to measure air quality.

Nearby, there are examples of common sources of air particles: industry, airplanes, vehicles and sea spray.

The main instrument on display inside the trailer is a Scanning/Sequential Mobility Particle Sizer (SMPS). The air (carrying particles of various sizes) first goes through a Differential Mobility Analyser (DMA), which throws away all but the particles of a certain size. (You can adjust the particle size being kept.)

You can click on the numbered squares to get a notecard about the various parts of the DMA. By step 7, the particles of the desired size are all headed to the right, towards the Condensation Particle Counter (CPC).

The CPC counts the particles entering it by coating them in butanol and then using a laser detector to sense the coated particles. Once again, you can click on the numbered squares to learn about the parts of the CPC. There are also signs on the walls giving more explanation, plus an example of how the Airborne Particle Monitoring Station was used to track air quality surrounding the Guy Fawkes celebrations of 2006 (involving the launching of firewords and the burning of effigies).

Click here to visit the exhibit now.

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