Filtration efficiency and loading characteristics of PM2.5 through composite filter media consisting of commercial HVAC electret media and nanofiber layer

Min Tang, Sheng Chieh Chen, De Qiang Chang, Xiaofeng Xie, Jing Sun, David Y H Pui

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


Pleated electret HVAC filters are often used in residences and commercial buildings to mitigate the particles that originate both indoors and outdoors. However, there are two concerns on the performance of electret media: 1. Low efficiency for particles in diameter of 10–30 nm at initial filtration condition, which represent the MPPS (most penetrating particle size), and 2. Significant efficiency reduction during the loading process due to the shielding of fiber charge. In this study, a composite filter media composed of a main layer of HVAC electret media on the top and a thin layer of nanofiber at the bottom was prepared and tested for its PM2.5 removal. In the initial efficiency tests, monodisperse nanoparticles ranging 8–500 nm were used to challenge the media. It was found that the nanofiber layer can enhance the efficiency for the MPPS (10–30 nm) of electret media significantly. In the loading performance, polydisperse NaCl particles which mimicked the size distribution of typical atmospheric PM2.5 were used to challenge the media. It was found the total efficiency reduction was less than 10% for particles with sizes 50–500 nm. This reduction due to the shielding of fiber charge was much less than the electret layer (>40%) without adding nanofibers. The observation of a decent performance over the loading process was expected since the composite media made full use of both the mechanical forces and electrostatic effects. Surprisingly, the overall loading FOM (figure of merit) of the composite media was close to that of electret media, indicating that there was only a minor tradeoff of pressure drop increase when adding the nanofiber layer. In conclusion, this type of combination provided a unique structure to take advantage of electret media and a nanofiber layer for PM2.5 removal in the application of pleated HVAC filters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-145
Number of pages9
JournalSeparation and Purification Technology
StatePublished - Jun 8 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the United States NSF Grant (Award ID: 1236107) on “GOALIE: Unipolar Diffusion Charging of Spherical and Agglomerated Nanoparticles and its Application toward Surface-Area Measurement.” This work was also supported by Oversea Study of Guangzhou Elite Project (GEP), the National Key Research and Development Program of China ( 2016YFA0203000 ), and the Key Project of International Cooperation of the Academy of Sciences ( GJHZ1656 ). The authors thank the support of members of the Center for Filtration Research: 3M Corporation; A.O. Smith Corporation; BASF Corporation; Boeing Commercial Airplanes; Cummins Filtration Inc.; Donaldson Company, Inc.; Entegris, Inc.; Ford Research & Innovation Center; W.L. Gore & Associates, Inc.; MSP Corporation; Yancheng Science Park; Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.; Xinxiang Shengda Filtration Technique Co., Ltd.; Shigematsu Works Co., Ltd.; TSI Inc.; Guangxi Watyuan Filtration System Co., Ltd.; and the affiliate member National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier B.V.


  • Composite filter media
  • Electret media
  • Figure of merit
  • Nanofiber media
  • PM loading


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