2002 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, 2002 through December 31, 2003
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 objective of this research 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 (Pump) that will be developed by SKC, Inc., via an independent contract with the National Urban Air Toxics Research Center (NUATRC). Both 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 by inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) and inorganic ions by ion chromatography (IC) techniques.

Progress Summary:

This research project was developed in response to NUATRC Request for Application 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 to develop a PM personal sampler that will provide continuous 24-hour sampling, separate particles by size, and be unobtrusive, inexpensive, and easy to use. This 2-year project was due to end in November 2002, but in 2001, the project was granted an extension through January 2003.

We have completed the laboratory characterization of all PCIS stages, and a description of these tests and their results is given in the manuscript accepted for publication in the Journal of Aerosol Sciences.

We have completed the particle loading tests to determine whether the collection efficiency characteristics of the PCIS are modified by the accumulation of PM on its substrates. Particle loading tests indicated that the PCIS stages (0.25 µm and 1.0 µm, respectively) 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.

We conducted and completed 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. The results were that: (1) experimental tests using ammonium nitrate as the test aerosol indicated that the cutpoints of the 0.25 and 0.5 µm stages were conserved; (2) the ammonium nitrate concentrations measured by the PCIS were consistent with those measured by a collocated scanning mobility particle sizer (SMPS), whereas the concentrations of a collocated 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; and (3) this could be attributed to the high flow rate of MOUDI and consequently a high-pressure drop across its stages as compared to the PCIS stages.

We completed the PCIS evaluation in wind tunnel tests. The evaluation of the PCIS 2.5 µm stage in wind tunnel tests at two wind speeds, 3 and 8 km/hr, has been completed. Results indicate that sampling of PM up to 10 µm is not compromised by wind speed, and the wind tunnel tests showed the 50 percent cut at 2.5 µm.

We completed the field evaluations of PCIS in collocation with other samplers including MOUDI, SMPS aerodynamic particle sizer (APS), and HEADS in Los Angeles. Field experiments started in January 2002. The initial results indicated the following: (1) overall excellent agreement between PCIS and SMPS-APS with an average PM2.5 ratio of 0.93; however, MOUDI PM2.5 concentrations are slightly lower than those measured by PCIS; (2) good overall agreement between PCIS and MOUDI was obtained for size-fractionated average mass concentrations for particles in the ranges of 2.5-1.0 and 0.5-0.25 µm, and MOUDI concentrations were somewhat higher than PCIS concentrations for particles in the 1.0-0.5 µm range; and (3) very good overall agreement was obtained between PCIS and SMPS-APS concentrations for the particle sizes 2.5-1.0, 0.5-1.0, and 0.25-0.5 µm. For particles < 0.25 µm in size, the PCIS overestimates the mass concentrations as compared to the SMPS by a factor of 1.31 (+/- 0.40). A draft Final Report for this project was received by NUATRC in November 2002.

Future Activities:

The draft of the Final Report currently is being reviewed by external peer reviewers and the NUATRC Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP).

The external review of the report will be discussed by the SAP and comments will be communicated to Dr. Sioutas for his consideration to make appropriate modifications to the report.

Journal Articles on this Report : 2 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 Geller MD, Kim S, Misra C, Sioutas C, Olson BA, Marple VA. A methodology for measuring size-dependent chemical composition of ultrafine particles. Aerosol Science and Technology 2002;36(6):748-762. R828678C009 (2002)
R827352 (2004)
R827352 (Final)
R827352C014 (Final)
  • Full-text: Taylor&Francis-Full Text PDF
  • Abstract: Taylor&Francis-Abstract
  • Journal Article Singh M, Misra C, Sioutas C. Field evaluation of a personal cascade impactor sampler (PCIS). Atmospheric Environment 2003;37(34):4781-4793. R828678C009 (2002)
    R828678C009 (2003)
    R828678C009 (Final)
    R827352 (Final)
    R827352C014 (Final)
  • Full-text: ScienceDirect-Full Text HTML
  • Abstract: ScienceDirect-Abstract
  • Other: ScienceDirect-Full Text PDF
  • Supplemental Keywords:

    Personal Cascade Impactor Sampler, PCIS, particulate matter, PM, airborne particles, exposure, monitoring., 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:

    http://www.sph.uth.tmc.edu/mleland/ Exit

    Progress and Final Reports:

    Original Abstract
  • 2001 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