Investigation of the figure of merit for filters with a single nanofiber layer on a substrate

Jing Wang, Seong Chan Kim, David Y.H. Pui

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163 Scopus citations


We investigate filters composed of a layer of nanofibers on a substrate made of micrometer fibers and compare the performance of such nanofiber media to conventional micrometer fibrous filters. The performance of the nanofiber filters is evaluated using the figure of merit, which represents the ratio between the filtration efficiency and the pressure drop. Filtration tests were performed on four samples with different nanofiber solidities. As the nanofiber solidity increases, the filtration efficiency and the pressure drop both increase. We develop a numerical model to simulate the nanofiber filters. When the nanofiber solidity is appropriately adjusted, the pressure drop computed from the model is in good agreement with experimental results. Filtration efficiency for the nanofibers due to interception, inertial impaction and diffusion can be computed from the model. The simulation results are in good agreement with experiments for 20-780 nm particles but discrepancies exist for particles smaller than 20 nm. Our results show that nanofiber filters have better figure of merit for particles larger than about 100 nm compared to conventional fiberglass filters. For particles smaller than 100 nm, nanofiber filters do not perform better than conventional fiberglass filters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)323-334
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Aerosol Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank the support of members of the Center for Filtration Research: 3M Corporation, Cummins Filtration Inc., Donaldson Company, Inc., E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, Samsung Semiconductor Inc., Shigematsu Works Co., Ltd., TSI Inc., and W.L. Gore & Associates and the affiliate member National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Support of University of Minnesota Supercomputing Institute (MSI) is also acknowledged. The authors thank Dr. Kenneth Rubow for enlightening discussions.

Copyright 2019 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Figure of merit
  • Nanofiber filters


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