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Computer simulation of particle overlap in fiber count samples.

Chen CC; Yu TS; Shih TS; Baron P
Am Ind Hyg Assoc J 2001 May/Jun; 62(3):281-287
Fibrous aerosols are of great importance to industrial hygienists because of the severe health risks that may be associated with inhaling such particles. Previous studies on measurement error due to overloading of fibers and nonfibrous particles on the collected sample indicate that a 100-1300 fiber/mm2 filter area is the best filter loading density to reduce bias in fiber counts. The present study investigated the upper fiber and particle concentration limits for reliable counting and identification and the possibility of a procedure for correcting observed fiber counts to account for fiber masking due to overlapping particles or fibers. A computer-generated grid was used to simulate the light microscope graticule field. The resolution of 2000 x 2000 was found to accurately represent the shape of the fibers and nonfibrous particles. Bivariate lognormal distributions were used to describe the length and width distributions of the fibers. The capability of distinguishing particle-overlapped fibers (defined as the resolution index), the coverage of the graticule field, the filter surface loading density, size distributions of fibers and particles, and the fiber-to-particle concentration ratio were the primary parameters in this study. The counting efficiency was found to consistently decrease with increasing filter surface loading density and decreasing resolution index. The recommended upper limit of filter surface fiber density depended not only on the number concentration ratio but also on the filter surface loading densities and size distributions of fibers and particles. The advantage of using a thoracic preseparator on counting efficiency was calculated and found to improve counting efficiency significantly when the count median diameter of nonfibrous particles was close to or larger than the thoracic 50% cutoff point of 10 microm.
Aerosols; Aerosol-particles; Fibrous-dusts; Dusts; Particulate-dust; Particulates; Air-sampling-techniques; Air-sampling
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Journal Article
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American Industrial Hygiene Association Journal
Page last reviewed: August 1, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division