Design and performance of an automatic regenerating adsorption aerosol dryer for continuous operation at monitoring sites
Abstract. Sizes of aerosol particles depend on the relative humidity of their carrier gas. Most monitoring networks require therefore that the aerosol is dried to a relative humidity below 50% r.H. to ensure comparability of measurements at different sites. Commercially available aerosol dryers are often not suitable for this purpose at remote monitoring sites. Adsorption dryers need to be regenerated frequently and maintenance-free single column Nafion dryers are not designed for high aerosol flow rates. We therefore developed an automatic regenerating adsorption aerosol dryer with a design flow rate of 1 m3/h. Particle transmission efficiency of this dryer has been determined during a 3 week experiment. The lower 50% cut-off was found to be smaller than 3 nm at the design flow rate of the instrument. Measured transmission efficiencies are in good agreement with theoretical calculations. One dryer has been successfully deployed in the Amazon river basin. We present data from this monitoring site for the first 6 months of measurements (February 2008–August 2008). Apart from one unscheduled service, this dryer did not require any maintenance during this time period. The average relative humidity of the dried aerosol was 27.1+/−7.5% r.H. compared to an average ambient relative humidity of nearly 80% and temperatures around 30°C. This initial deployment demonstrated that these dryers are well suitable for continuous operation at remote monitoring sites under adverse ambient conditions.