Design and laboratory testing of a new flow-through directional passive air sampler for ambient particulate matter
A new type of directional passive air sampler (DPAS) is described for collecting particulate matter (PM) in ambient air. The prototype sampler has a non-rotating circular sampling tray that is divided into covered angular channels, whose ends are open to winds from sectors covering the surrounding 360°. Wind-blown PM from different directions enters relevant wind-facing channels, and is retained there in collecting pools containing various sampling media. Information on source direction and type can be obtained by examining the distribution of PM between channels. Wind tunnel tests show that external wind velocities are at least halved over an extended area of the collecting pools, encouraging PM to settle from the air stream. Internal and external wind velocities are well-correlated over an external velocity range of 2.0–10.0 m s−1, which suggests it may be possible to relate collected amounts of PM simply to ambient concentrations and wind velocities. Measurements of internal wind velocities in different channels show that velocities decrease from the upwind channel round to the downwind channel, so that the sampler effectively resolves wind directions. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analyses were performed on a computer-generated model of the sampler for a range of external wind velocities; the results of these analyses were consistent with those from the wind tunnel. Further wind tunnel tests were undertaken using different artificial particulates in order to assess the collection performance of the sampler in practice. These tests confirmed that the sampler can resolve the directions of sources, by collecting particulates preferentially in source-facing channels.