The Choice of Instrument (ELPI and/or SMPS) for Diesel Soot Particulate Measurements 2003-01-0784
The Scanning Mobility Particle Sizer (SMPS) and the Electrical Low-Pressure Impactor (ELPI) are frequently used to measure the number and size of combustion aerosols. The instruments are especially popular in the field of engine technology, where the emission of “particulate matter” is restricted by legislation.
During the experiment with a “standard” ELPI it is observed that initially the number of small particles decreases rapidly, while simultaneously the number of larger particles increases. This non-ideal behavior of the ELPI can be overcome by the usage of oil-soaked sintered impactor stages.
The interpretation of the results as measured by SMPS and ELPI is not straightforward due to the fractal character of the diesel soot agglomerates. The theory of fractal-like agglomerates is used to assess the performance of the ELPI and the SMPS for the measurement of diesel soot particles and is validated visually with electron microscopy (SEM). It was found that the aerodynamic diameter as measured by the ELPI leads to an underestimation of the actual size of diesel particulates since the density of the agglomerates is lower than unity. The SMPS measured the mobility diameter and suffers from multiple charges on the agglomerates. This leads to a severe underestimation of the actual size of the agglomerates. In conclusion, ELPI is preferred since it gives a more realistic estimation of the actual size.