A field study on the possible attachment of DPM and respirable dust in mining environments

Author ORCID Identifier

Emily Sarver 0000-0003-2301-8740

Emanuele Cauda 0000-0003-0339-8504


Typcial monitoring procedures for diesel particulate matter (DPM) in mines include the collection of filter samples using particle size selectors. The size selectors are meant to separate the DPM, which is generally considered to occur in the submicron range (i.e., < 0.8 μm), from larger dust particles that could present analytical interferences. However, previous studies have demonstrated that this approach can sometimes result in undersampling, therefore, excluding significant fractions of the DPM mass. The excluded fraction may represent oversized DPM particles, but another possibility is that submicron DPM attaches to supramicron dust particles such that it is effectively oversized. To gain insights into this possibility, a field study was conducted in an underground stone mine. Submicron, respirable, and total airborne particulate filter samples were collected in three locations to determine elemental carbon (EC) and total carbon (TC), which are commonly used as analytical surrogates for DPM. Concurrent with the collection of the filter samples, a low-flow sampler with an electrostatic precipitator was also used to collect airborne particulates onto 400-mesh copper grids for analysis by transmission electron microscope (TEM). Results indicated that, while typical submicron sampling did account for the majority of DPM mass in the study mine, DPM-dust attachment can indeed occur. The effect of exposure to such attached particulates has not been widely investigated.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.