Use of Nuclepore filters for ambient and workplace nanoparticle exposure assessment-Spherical particles

Sheng Chieh Chen, Jing Wang, Heinz Fissan, David Y.H. Pui

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Nuclepore filter collection with subsequent electron microscopy analysis for nanoparticles was carried out to examine the feasibility of the method to assess the nanoparticle exposure. The number distribution of nanoparticles collected on the filter surface was counted visually and converted to the distribution in the air using existing filtration models for Nuclepore filters. To search for a proper model, this paper studied the overall penetrations of three different nanoparticles (PSL, Ag and NaCl), covering a wide range of particle sizes (20-800nm) and densities (1.05-10.5gcm-3), through Nuclepore filters with two different pore diameters (1 and 3μm) and different face velocities (2-15cms-1). The data were compared with existing particle deposition models and modified models proposed by this study, which delivered different results because of different deposition processes considered. It was found that a parameter associated with flow condition and filter geometry (density of fluid medium, particle density, filtration face velocity, filter porosity and pore diameter) should be taken into account to verify the applicability of the models. The data of the overall penetration were in very good agreement with the properly applied models. A good agreement of filter surface collection between the validated model and the SEM analysis was obtained, indicating a correct nanoparticle number distribution in the air can be converted from the Nuclepore filter surface collection and this method can be applied for nanoparticle exposure assessment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)385-393
Number of pages9
JournalAtmospheric Environment
StatePublished - Oct 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the NSF Grant (Award ID: 1236107 ) on “GOALIE: Unipolar Diffusion Charging of Spherical and Agglomerated Nanoparticles and its Application toward Surface-Area Measurement”. The authors thank the support of members of the Center for Filtration Research: 3M Corporation, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Cummins Filtration Inc., Donaldson Company, Inc., Entegris, Inc., Hollingsworth &Vose Company, MANN + HUMMEL GMBH, MSP Corporation, Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd, Shigematsu Works Co., Ltd, TSI Inc., and W. L. Gore & Associates, Inc., and the affiliate member National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Parts of this work were carried out in the Characterization Facility, University of Minnesota, a member of the NSF-funded Materials Research Facilities Network ( ) via the MRSEC program.


  • Capillary tube model
  • Nanoparticle exposure assessment
  • Nanoparticle size distribution
  • Nuclepore filter


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