Dry particle generation with a 3-D printed fluidized bed generator
Abstract. Here we describe the design and testing of PRIZE (PRinted fluidIZed bed gEnerator), a compact fluidized bed aerosol generator manufactured using stereolithography (SLA) printing. Dispersing small quantities of powdered materials – due to either rarity or expense – is challenging due to a lack of small, low-cost dry aerosol generators. With this as motivation, we designed and built a generator that uses a mineral dust or other dry powder sample mixed with bronze beads that sit atop a porous screen. A particle-free airflow is introduced, dispersing the sample as airborne particles. Total particle number concentrations and size distributions were measured during different stages of the assembling process to show that the SLA 3-D printed generator did not generate particles until the mineral dust sample was introduced. Time-series measurements with Arizona Test Dust (ATD) showed stable total particle number concentrations of 10–150 cm−3, depending on the sample mass, from the sub- to super-micrometer size range. Additional tests with collected soil dust samples are also presented. PRIZE is simple to assemble, easy to clean, inexpensive and deployable for laboratory and field studies that require dry particle generation.