2001 Progress Report: Development of a Personal Cascade Impactor Sampler (PCIS)

EPA Grant Number: R828678C009
Subproject: this is subproject number 009 , established and managed by the Center Director under grant R824834
(EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).

Center: Southern California Particle Center
Center Director: Froines, John R.
Title: Development of a Personal Cascade Impactor Sampler (PCIS)
Investigators: Sioutas, Constantinos
Institution: University of Southern California , University of Southern California
EPA Project Officer: Chung, Serena
Project Period: January 2, 2001 through December 31, 2005 (Extended to December 31, 2008)
Project Period Covered by this Report: January 2, 2001 through December 31, 2002
RFA: Mickey Leland National Urban Air Toxics Research Center (NUATRC) (1997) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Air Quality and Air Toxics , Targeted Research


The purpose of this project is to develop a personal sampler for particulate matter (PM) that will allow separation of airborne particles by size and analyses of the particles for their toxic metal content. The sampler will operate with the help of a high efficiency personal air pump that will be developed by SKC, Inc., via an independent contract with the NUATRC. The development of the personal sampler and the pump will be closely coordinated. One sampler unit will be developed as part of this grant.

The proposed Personal Cascade Impactor Sampler (PCIS) is a miniaturized cascade impactor, consisting of four impaction stages, followed by an after-filter. Particles will be separated in the following aerodynamic particle diameter ranges: < 0.25, 0.25-0.5, 0.5-1.0, 1.0-2.5, and 2.5-10 µm. Particles in the size range of 0.25-10 µm will be accelerated in rectangular-shaped nozzles and collected on 25-mm filter substrates made of quartz (Pallflex Corp., Putnam, CT). Efforts will be made to decrease the filter size to 12 mm, as this will further reduce the overall filter surface area and thus the required liquid volume for chemical extraction and analysis. The quartz filter surface area eliminates particle bounce and allows sufficient material to be collected to conduct gravimetric analyses as well as analyses of the toxic metals inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) and inorganic ions by ion chromatography (IC) techniques

This study was initiated by the Center in October 2000, under a previous EPA grant (Grant No. R824834C009), and it will continue under this follow-on grant.

Progress Summary:

The project was developed in response to NUATRC RFA 99-01, "Development of New Generation Personal Monitors for Fine Particulate Matter and its Metal Content." It was awarded to the University of Southern California (USC) in October 2000, to develop a particulate matter personal sampler that will provide continuous 24-hour sampling, separate particles by size, and be unobtrusive, inexpensive, and easy to use. This project is expected to be completed in January 2003.

With regard to designing the PCIS, the basic design and operating parameters have been determined. All four impaction plates to house the PCIS have been constructed. The construction and laboratory evaluation of the four impaction stages at 0.25, 0.50, 1.0, and 2.5 µm have been completed.

Progress also has been made on the multi-elemental analysis of PM by ICPS (Inductively Coupled Plasma Spectrometry). QA/QC procedures for this method and calibration of the microwave digestion system currently are being developed. The determination of inorganic anions in airborne PM also is being investigated. The laboratory characterization of all PCIS stages has been completed.

Particle loading tests to determine whether the collection efficiency characteristics of the PCIS are modified by the accumulation of PM on its substrates have been conducted. Particle loading tests indicated that the PCIS stages could collect up to 3.16 and 0.7 mg of fine and coarse PM, respectively, without any loss in the collection efficiency, which would have been a result of particle bounce.

Laboratory tests to determine the degree to which labile constituents of ambient aerosols, such as ammonium nitrate, are preserved as they are drawn through the stages of the PCIS have been completed. Experimental tests using ammonium nitrate as the test aerosol indicated that the cutpoints of the 0.25 and 0.5 µm stages were conserved. Furthermore, the ammonium nitrate concentrations measured by the PCIS were consistent with those measured by a co-located scanning mobility particle sizer (SMPS), whereas the concentrations of a co-located micro-orifice uniform deposit impactor (MOUDI) were found to be lower than those of the SMPS and PCIS, thus corroborating preservation of labile species through the PCIS.

Future Activities:

In the next year, field evaluation of the PCIS will be performed. The PCIS will be tested at 2 locations-downtown LA and USC's civil engineering building. Additionally, the PCIS will be compared with other air samplers, i.e. MOUDI, Honeycomb Denuder Sampler (HDS), SMPS, and APS. The ability of the PCIS to sample coarse PM under varying wind speed conditions will be tested in a wind tunnel belonging to UCLA's School of Public Health. The combined Leland Legacy pump PCIS sampler system will be evaluated in the laboratory.

Journal Articles on this Report : 1 Displayed | Download in RIS Format

Other subproject views: All 6 publications 6 publications in selected types All 4 journal articles
Other center views: All 144 publications 62 publications in selected types All 53 journal articles
Type Citation Sub Project Document Sources
Journal Article Misra C, Fine PM, Singh M, Sioutas C. Development and evaluation of a compact facility for exposing humans to concentrated ambient ultrafine particles. Aerosol Science and Technology 2004;38(1):27-35. R828678C009 (2001)
R828678C009 (Final)
R827352 (2004)
R827352 (Final)
R827352C014 (Final)
  • Full-text: Taylor&Francis-Full Text HTML
  • Abstract: Taylor&Francis-Abstract
  • Other: Taylor&Francis-Full Text PDF
  • Supplemental Keywords:

    urban, air pollution, sampling, monitoring, exposure., RFA, Health, Scientific Discipline, PHYSICAL ASPECTS, Air, ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT, POLLUTANTS/TOXICS, Air Pollution, particulate matter, air toxics, Health Risk Assessment, Chemicals, Air Pollution Effects, Risk Assessments, Biochemistry, Environmental Monitoring, Physical Processes, Engineering, Chemistry, & Physics, Risk Assessment, health effects, urban air, urban air quality, inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, air pollutants, human health effects, atmospheric particles, aerosol particles, exposure, air sampling pump, chemical composition, air sampling, chemical detection techniques, human exposure, environmental contaminants, lung inflamation, particulate exposure, personal cascade impactor sampler, urban air pollution, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), human health, cardiovascular disease, exposure assessment, heavy metals, human health risk, biomarker

    Relevant Websites:

    Previously Funded Project: R824834C009

    Progress and Final Reports:

    Original Abstract
  • 2002 Progress Report
  • 2003 Progress Report
  • 2004
  • 2005
  • 2006
  • 2007
  • Final Report

  • Main Center Abstract and Reports:

    R824834    Southern California Particle Center

    Subprojects under this Center: (EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).
    R824834C001 Air Toxics Exposures Among Teenagers in New York City and Los Angeles - A Columbia-Harvard Study (TEACH)
    R824834C002 Cardiopulmonary Response to Particulate Exposure
    R824834C003 VOC Exposure in an Industry Impacted Community
    R824834C004 A Study of Personal Exposure to Air Toxics Among a Subset of the Residential U.S. Population (VOC Project)
    R824834C005 Methods Development Project for a Study of Personal Exposures to Toxic Air Pollutants
    R824834C006 Relationship Between Indoor, Outdoor and Personal Air (RIOPA)
    R824834C007 Development of the "Leland Legacy" Air Sampling Pump
    R824834C008 Source Apportionment of Indoor Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) in Urban Residences
    R824834C009 Development of a Personal Cascade Impactor Sampler (PCIS)
    R824834C010 Testing the Metals Hypothesis in Spokane
    R828678C001 Air Toxics Exposures Among Teenagers in New York City and Los Angeles—A Columbia-Harvard Study (TEACH)
    R828678C002 Cardiopulmonary Effects of Metal-Containing Particulate Exposure
    R828678C003 VOC Exposure in an Industry Impacted Community
    R828678C004 A Study of Personal Exposure to Air Toxics Among a Subset of the Residential U.S. Population (VOC Project)
    R828678C005 Oxygenated Urban Air Toxics and Asthma Variability in Middle School Children: A Panel Study (ATAC–Air Toxics and Asthma in Children)
    R828678C006 Relationship between Indoor, Outdoor and Personal Air (RIOPA). Part II: Analyses of Concentrations of Particulate Matter Species
    R828678C007 Development of the “Leland Legacy” Air Sampling Pump
    R828678C008 Source Apportionment of Indoor PAHs in Urban Residences 98-03B
    R828678C009 Development of a Personal Cascade Impactor Sampler (PCIS)
    R828678C010 Testing the Metals Hypothesis in Spokane
    R828678C011 A Pilot Geospatial Analysis of Exposure to Air Pollutants (with Special Attention to Air Toxics) and Hospital Admissions in Harris County, Texas
    R828678C012 Impact of Exposure to Urban Air Toxics on Asthma Utilization for the Pediatric Medicaid Population in Dearborn, Michigan
    R828678C013 Field Validation of the Sioutas Sampler and Leland Legacy Pump – Joint Project with EPA’s Environmental Technology Validation Program (ETV)
    R828678C014 Performance Evaluation of the 3M Charcoal Vapor Monitor for Monitor Low Ambient Concentrations of VOCs
    R828678C015 RIOPA Database Development
    R828678C016 Contributions of Outdoor PM Sources to Indoor and Personal Exposures: Analysis of PM Species Concentrations” Focused on the PM Speciation and Apportioning of Sources
    R828678C017 The Short and Long-Term Respiratory Effects of Exposure to PAHs from Traffic in a Cohort of Asthmatic Children