Articles | Volume 10, issue 6
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 10, 1999–2007, 2017
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 10, 1999–2007, 2017

Research article 02 Jun 2017

Research article | 02 Jun 2017

Dry particle generation with a 3-D printed fluidized bed generator

Michael Roesch1, Carolin Roesch1, and Daniel J. Cziczo1,2 Michael Roesch et al.
  • 1Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, 02139, USA
  • 2Department of Civil Environmental Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, 02139, USA

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.

Short summary
This study describes the design, manufacture and proof-of-concept of the 3-D printed fluidized bed generator PRIZE, which is a compact, simple and low-cost addition to existing dry particle generation instruments. The generator is capable of dispersing aerosol particles from dry material without itself generating significant particles (< 5 % by number at 0.2 g of ATD without a stainless steel insert, negligible with). It is therefore ideal for use in minimally appointed lab and field conditions.