Facility for production of ambient-like model aerosols (PALMA) in the laboratory: application in the intercomparison of automated PM monitors with the reference gravimetric method

Horender, Stefan; Auderset, Kevin; Quincey, Paul; Seeger, Stefan; Skov, Søren Nielsen; Dirscherl, Kai; Smith, Thomas O. M.; Williams, Katie; Aegerter, Camille C.; Kalbermatter, Daniel M.; Gaie-Levrel, François; Vasilatou, Konstantina

A new facility has been developed which allows for a stable and reproducible production of ambient-like model aerosols (PALMA) in the laboratory. The set-up consists of multiple aerosol generators, a custom-made flow tube homogeniser, isokinetic sampling probes, and a system to control aerosol temperature and humidity. Model aerosols containing elemental carbon, secondary organic matter from the ozonolysis of inline-formulaα-pinene, inorganic salts such as ammonium sulfate and ammonium nitrate, mineral dust particles, and water were generated under different environmental conditions and at different number and mass concentrations. The aerosol physical and chemical properties were characterised with an array of experimental methods, including scanning mobility particle sizing, ion chromatography, total reflection X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy and thermo-optical analysis. The facility is very versatile and can find applications in the calibration and performance characterisation of aerosol instruments monitoring ambient air. In this study, we performed, as proof of concept, an intercomparison of three different commercial PM (particulate matter) monitors (TEOM 1405, DustTrak DRX 8533 and Fidas Frog) with the gravimetric reference method under three simulated environmental scenarios. The results are presented and compared to previous field studies. We believe that the laboratory-based method for simulating ambient aerosols presented here could provide in the future a useful alternative to time-consuming and expensive field campaigns, which are often required for instrument certification and calibration.

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Horender, Stefan / Auderset, Kevin / Quincey, Paul / et al: Facility for production of ambient-like model aerosols (PALMA) in the laboratory: application in the intercomparison of automated PM monitors with the reference gravimetric method. 2021. Copernicus Publications.

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