It’s all about Particulate Matter Measurement (PM10, PM2.5)
Maintaining ambient as well as indoor air quality within limits has become very difficult. There are many sources which emits particulate pollutants into the environment. Other than harmful gases there is very important and harmful pollutant is released to environment and that is Particulate matter (PM). Many of us must have heard importance of Particulate matter measurement i.e. PM10 and PM2.5, but don’t know what that is and why it should be measured?
Don’t worry you are reading right post.
Sources of Particulate Matter
Particulate matter (PM) consists of majorly solids and liquids such as smoke, dust, aerosols, mists, fumes and condensed vapours that are suspended in air for longer duration. A significant share of PM sources is from human activities and small share of natural activities.
Human activities include Industrial pollution, Agriculture, combustion of fuel andwood, construction etc. Natural activities includes windblown and wildfires.
PM10 is associated with dust as it has larger suspended particles and PM2.5 is associated with fuel burning, combustion processes and vehicle emissions as it has smaller suspended particle size.
Learn more about How Air Quality Index is Measured?
Why to Measure Particulate Matter?
The increasing awareness about Particulate Matter Monitoring is mainly because of its effects on human health as well as environment. It is part of air quality Monitoring which include process of monitoring harmful gases, Windspeed, Direction etc.
Particulate matter affects respiratory and cardiovascular systems. Because of smallest size of fine particles it can go deep down in lungs and access gas exchange regions of the lungs via dispersion.
PM can affect environment, such as change in the radiation balance of the planet, change in process of cloud formation, reduced visibility and global warming. It is necessity to monitor fine particulate matter at industrial sites as dust and air monitoring is becoming regular. Data collected from sampling and monitoring is used to take decisions to reduce particulate matter from atmosphere.
Who should be Monitoring Particulate Matter?
Almost every country have rules and regulations that include ambient particulate monitoring in major cities. Along with government bodies below mentioned industries needs to monitor Suspended Particulate Matter (SPM) and Respirable Suspended Particulate Matter (RSPM).
- Cement industry
- Real Estate, construction Industry
- Oil and gas
Particulate Matter Measurement Methods?
There are several monitoring methods are available to monitor characteristic of Suspended Particulate Matter (SPM) in atmosphere. The most important types of particulate matter are:
- Concentration methods: in this method concentration pf PM is measured from ambient air. PM concentration can be in mass (m), number (N) and surface area (S). These instruments are based on different measurement principles and it can be gravimetric, optical, microbalance and electrical charge.
- Size distribution methods: This method can analyse behaviour of PM in ambient air. Smaller particles stay in atmosphere for longer time than those of larger size. Size distribution methods measures aerosol size in diameter and concentration.
By this method, particle size is measured based on properties like, geometric size, inertia, mobility, electrical mobility and optical properties.
In general to get accurate results it is recommended to use combination of several measuring instruments. Particulate matter measurement methods can also be categorized as Wet measurement and dry measurement.
The size of particulate matter in the air is measured in micrometers (μm) or microns. Particulate matter, often referred to as PM, is a mixture of tiny solid particles and liquid droplets suspended in the atmosphere. These particles can vary in size, ranging from coarse particles (PM10) with a diameter of 10 micrometers or smaller to fine particles (PM2.5) with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers or smaller. Ultrafine particles (PM1) are even smaller, with a diameter of 1 micrometer or less.
The size of particulate matter is a crucial factor in determining their behavior in the air and their potential health effects. Fine and ultrafine particles can penetrate deep into the respiratory system and even enter the bloodstream, posing significant health risks, especially to vulnerable groups such as children, the elderly, and individuals with pre-existing health conditions. Monitoring and controlling particulate matter levels are essential for maintaining air quality and safeguarding public health.
Particulate Matter Measurement Unit
The measurement unit for particulate matter is micrometers (μm) or microns. Particulate matter (PM) is a mixture of tiny solid particles and liquid droplets suspended in the air. These particles can vary in size, and their size is typically expressed in micrometers, which is equivalent to one-millionth of a meter.
For instance, PM10 refers to particles with a diameter of 10 micrometers or smaller, while PM2.5 indicates particles with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers or smaller. Ultrafine particles, also known as PM1, have a diameter of 1 micrometer or less.
By using micrometers as the measurement unit, scientists and researchers can accurately assess the size distribution of particulate matter in the air, which is crucial for understanding its behavior, potential health impacts, and the effectiveness of pollution control measures.
Particulate Matter Monitoring Instrument
There are many types of Instruments available for particulate matter measurement. Selection of Instruments depends on various parameters like real time measurement, dilution of gas required before collection, detection limit of instrument, size range, accuracy, advantages and disadvantages.
In addition to above parameters durability of equipment, maintenance requirement, Availability of measurement in wet or humidified environment, ease of transportation are also measure factors needs to be considered before choosing suitable equipment.
Below mentioned is list of instruments for sampling of particulate matter and their main feature:
- Filter: Simple
- Scattering: Real-time, 30% accuracy
- Spotmeter: High response time
- PASS;LII: Real-time
- Opacity: Real-time
- TEOM (Tapered Element Oscillating Microbalance): Real-time
- DLPI (Dekati Low pressure impactor): large size ranges
- SMPS (Scanning mobility particle sizer): very small particles
- FMPS (Fast mobility particle Sizer): Real-time, 25% accuracy
- ELPI (Electrical low pressure impactor): Real-time, 25% accuracy
How to Measure Particulate Matter in Water
Measuring particulate matter in water involves several methods. One common method is the gravimetric method, where a water sample is collected and passed through a pre-weighed filter to capture the suspended particles. The filter is then dried and weighed again to determine the mass of the particulate matter. Another method is turbidity measurement, which uses a turbidimeter or nephelometer to measure the scattering of light by particles in the water.
The higher the turbidity, the more suspended particles are present. Sedimentation method involves allowing a water sample to settle in a container, and the settled particles’ volume or weight can be used to calculate the concentration of suspended solids.
Advanced techniques such as membrane filtration or automated particle counters can also be used to separate and analyze particles in water samples. Regular monitoring of particulate matter in water is crucial to assess water quality and potential environmental impacts.
There is no best instrument to carry out particulate matter sampling, but most suitable instrument can be chosen as per situation. In order to select best instrument environmental Consultant should have set goal for monitoring and availability of instrument of required characteristic.
Let us know if you know some other Particulate matter measurement techniques in comments.
Make Perfect Pollucon Services as Environmental Monitoring Partner
Perfect Pollucon Services is a reputable environmental consulting company that offers comprehensive services in particulate matter measurement. With their expertise and state-of-the-art equipment, they provide accurate and reliable assessments of airborne particulate matter levels in various environments.
Their team of skilled professionals conducts air quality monitoring using advanced techniques, including gravimetric analysis, real-time monitoring instruments, and automated particle counters to measure PM10, PM2.5, and other particulate matter fractions.
Whether for compliance purposes, industrial monitoring, or environmental impact assessments, Perfect Pollucon Services ensures that clients receive valuable insights into particulate matter pollution, enabling them to make informed decisions and implement effective pollution control measures to safeguard public health and the environment.
An instrument commonly used to measure particulate matter is a particulate matter (PM) monitor, which can include devices like beta attenuation monitors, light-scattering nephelometers, or real-time laser-based particle counters.
PM2.5 is measured using specialized air quality monitoring instruments such as beta attenuation monitors, light-scattering nephelometers, or real-time laser-based particle counters that can detect and quantify particles with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers or smaller in the air, providing real-time or periodic data on PM2.5 concentration levels. The instruments draw air samples and use various techniques to measure the light scattering or attenuation caused by these fine particles, giving an accurate assessment of PM2.5 levels in the atmosphere.
Yes, particulate matter is measured in micrometers (μm) or microns. Particulate matter is categorized based on its aerodynamic diameter, with PM10 referring to particles with a diameter of 10 micrometers or smaller, and PM2.5 indicating particles with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers or smaller.
We measure particulate matter to assess and monitor air quality and its potential impact on human health and the environment. Particulate matter can have adverse health effects when inhaled, especially fine particles like PM2.5 that can penetrate deep into the respiratory system, and by measuring it, we can implement effective pollution control measures and public health interventions to protect people and improve air quality.
The three common ways used to measure air pollutants are continuous monitoring, passive monitoring, and grab sampling. Continuous monitoring involves real-time measurements using automated instruments, passive monitoring utilizes devices that collect pollutants over a specific period for later analysis, and grab sampling involves manually collecting air samples at specific locations and times for laboratory analysis.
For sampling of particulate matter, the most common method used is grab sampling. In grab sampling, air samples are collected manually at specific locations and times using specialized air sampling equipment, and these samples are then sent to laboratories for analysis to determine the concentration of particulate matter.
PM10 (particulate matter with a diameter of 10 micrometers or smaller) is typically calculated using gravimetric analysis. In this method, a high-volume air sampler collects a known volume of air over a specified time period. The collected particulate matter is then weighed, and the concentration of PM10 is calculated as the mass of particulate matter per unit volume of air sampled.
The main difference between PM2.5 and PM10 lies in their particle size. PM2.5 refers to particulate matter with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers or smaller, while PM10 refers to particles with a diameter of 10 micrometers or smaller. PM2.5 particles are smaller and can penetrate deep into the respiratory system, posing greater health risks, while PM10 particles are slightly larger and can be trapped in the upper respiratory tract.
The safe level of PM2.5 is determined by air quality guidelines and standards set by health authorities and environmental agencies. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that the 24-hour average concentration of PM2.5 should not exceed 25 micrograms per cubic meter (μg/m³) for the protection of public health.
A 1 micron particle size refers to a particle that measures 1 micrometer in diameter. To put it in perspective, a micron is equal to one-millionth of a meter, making these particles extremely small and typically categorized as ultrafine particles.
The two sizes of particulate matter are PM10 and PM2.5. PM10 refers to particles with a diameter of 10 micrometers or smaller, while PM2.5 indicates particles with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers or smaller.
The size of smoke particles can vary, but they are generally in the range of PM2.5 (2.5 micrometers or smaller) or even smaller. Smoke particles from sources like wildfires, industrial processes, or vehicle emissions often contain a significant portion of fine and ultrafine particles that can have adverse health effects when inhaled.
The measurement of PM (Particulate Matter) refers to the quantification of the concentration of solid particles and liquid droplets suspended in the air. PM is typically measured in micrograms per cubic meter (μg/m³) of air, indicating the mass of particulate matter present in a given volume of air.
The unit of PM10 (Particulate Matter with a diameter of 10 micrometers or smaller) is micrograms per cubic meter (μg/m³). It represents the mass of particulate matter with a size of 10 micrometers or smaller present in one cubic meter of air.
Particulate matter of 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5) is a major concern because of its small size, which allows it to penetrate deep into the respiratory system and even enter the bloodstream when inhaled. Due to their fine nature, PM2.5 particles are more likely to carry harmful substances such as heavy metals and organic compounds, posing significant health risks, especially for vulnerable populations such as children, the elderly, and individuals with pre-existing respiratory conditions.