Laboratory and on-road evaluations of cabin air filters using number and surface area concentration monitors

Chaolong Qi, Nick Stanley, David Y.H. Pui, Thomas H. Kuehn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


An automotive cabin air filter's effectiveness for removing airborne particles was determined both in a laboratory wind tunnel and in vehicle on-road tests. The most penetrating particle size for the test filter was ∼350 nm, where the filtration efficiency was 22.9 and 17.4% at medium and high fan speeds, respectively. The filtration efficiency increased for smaller particles and was 43.9% for 100 nm and 72.0% for 20 nm particles at a medium fan speed. We determined the reduction in passenger exposure to particles while driving in freeway traffic caused by a vehicle ventilation system with a cabin air filter installed. Both particle number and surface area concentration measurements were made inside the cabin and in the surrounding air. At medium fan speed, the number and surface area concentration-based exposure reductions were 65.6 ± 6.0% and 60.6 ± 9.4%, respectively. To distinguish the exposure reduction contribution from the filter alone and the remainder of the ventilation system, we also performed tests with and without the filter in place using the surface area monitors. The ventilation system operating in the recirculation mode with the cabin air filter installed provided the maximum protection, reducing the cabin particle concentration exponentially over time and usually taking only 3 min to reach 10 μm2/cm3 (a typical office air condition) under medium fan speed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4128-4132
Number of pages5
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 1 2008


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