• Looking behind the scenes of dust & PM monitoring

Air Monitoring

Looking behind the scenes of dust & PM monitoring

Jun 11 2024

Measuring particulate matter (PM) accurately comes with a number of challenges, including effects from humidity and differing particle sizes. Technological considerations are also a factor, such as variable sample flow rates and the physical size and diameter of the sample path, which could affect the number of particles able to be measured.

AQMesh has been able to overcome many of these challenges through its proprietary OPC development, making it a robust, reliable and accurate solution for PM monitoring. From sample inlet to final data output, each design requirement for precise measurement of particles in ambient air has been carefully thought out to result in a truly bespoke and fit-for-purpose optical particle counter (OPC) – a solution that only AQMesh can offer. There are a few key aspects:-

Active sampling using a pump

By using a pump instead of a fan, the AQMesh OPC samples at a steady flow rate from the inlet to sensor, which provides a more consistent air sample than other methods used. Systems which use fans run the risk of creating vacuums, which can interrupt the flow rate and affect the sample measurement.

Laser-focused

A funnelled inlet helps the OPC taper the particle samples to a focal point, and then a straight line sample path from this focal point to the laser bench means larger particles are not ‘stuck’ in a bend and ensures all particles within the sample pass through the laser path, allowing for complete capture of particles, categorised by diameter from 0.3 – 30um. This means the laser OPC in AQMesh gives a true PM10 measurement, which many systems – including nephelometers – cannot offer.

Heating the sample to reduce deliquescence

The optional heated inlet allows AQMesh to reduce the effects of humidity on particle sizes. Known as deliquescence, this effect can make particles larger in diameter due to the absorption of moisture. The heated inlet overcomes this by drying the sample as it is drawn in, bringing the particles back down to their true size and therefore resulting in more accurate measurement. Additionally, AQMesh can detect when deliquescence is likely to have happened during data processing and can ‘flag’ the data point – including with non-heated samples - allowing it to be easily identified and redacted. Use of the heated inlet results in less than 1% of data points being flagged in this way.

Autonomous power for uninterrupted sampling

Using AQMesh’s bespoke smart solar pack for autonomous power allows for uninterrupted PM monitoring, with no need to change the sampling regime to take fewer readings – a process which could potentially void an instrument’s MCERTS certification. The AQMesh solar pack provides consistent, smooth power all year round for AQMesh pods.

Minimal maintenance

Other benefits of the AQMesh OPC include reduced maintenance – there is no need to change any filters, and there is no need to replace the whole OPC unit when it requires servicing. We simply advise the pump and laser is replaced every two years, which can be carried out by the user without returning the instrument to factory. Exceedance alerts can also be set for PM fractions, alongside any other pollutants being measured, which enable users to receive immediate information if levels breach a user-defined level over a user-defined period.

MCERTs indicative

AQMesh has been accurately measuring PM for over 10 years, and offers the added reassurance of MCERTS Indicative measurements for PM2.5 and PM10.

For more information on how AQMesh can support your PM monitoring requirements, contact our experienced team today.


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AET 28.2 April/May 2024

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