Invisible Fine Dust

The invisible fine dust

Dr Fodisch Umweltmesstechnik AG

“Air is lifeblood. Daily we inhale approximately 15.000 liter. Still, the air contains invisible pollutants, which vary in its composition and concentration depending on the location. Especially the respirable particles with a diameter of less than 2.5 µm (PM 2.5) were considered to be particularly dangerous.

According to a current study conducted by the Max Planck Society, worldwide 3.3 million people annually die prematurely due-to consequences of air pollution. In the European Union, the exposure with fine dust and ozone causes up to 180 000 deaths each year, of which alone 35 000 die in Germany. (Source) Various examinations have proven that dust polluted air indoor and outdoor damage the heart, lungs and brain resulting in an increased infarction and stroke risk and rising attacks of asthma. At the latest since the Volkswagen emission scandal and the fine dust alert in Stuttgart, the topic gained presence. It is a fact that the emission of fine dust and nitrogen oxide in exhaust gases is not entirely caused by road transport vehicles. Not only in Stuttgart, but also in other areas in Europe the particulate matter concentrations are too high. Also tyre abrasion on the roadway as well as aviation and railway related PM2.5 emissions contribute to a rising fine dust concentration in the environment. The promotion of small-scale firing plants in recent years intensified the problem and demonstrates nowadays its full impact. Biomass power plants and industrial incinerations were the main emitters of fine dust particles.

European emission limits and emission guidelines should control the respirable dust pollution. Since 2015 exist a limit value of 25 µg/m³ in the annual average throughout Europe. This value will be reduced in 2020 to 20 µg/m³. The conformation of the limitation values were controlled by 170 regulatory measuring stations of the Federal Environment Agency in Germany. According to their results, the fine dust pollution has diminished over the last few years at both national and regional level, but the trend stagnated since 2013. (Source)
Comprehensible to everyone is that fine dust pollution rises in urban and suburban spaces, whereas in rural areas the values decrease.
To combat causes is more difficult than the responsible persons thought.

No matter what the weather is like: The fine dust measurement fits

Weather-related influences adversely affect the measurement. Regulatory measuring stations, as required to gain reliable measuring values, are technically sophisticated and cost-intensive. Currently six regulatory measuring stations in Stuttgart were installed.

Through the compact fine dust sensor FDS 15 from Dr. Födisch Umweltmesstechnik AG, a smart fine dust measuring instrument enters now the market that determines the fine dust concentration (PM2.5) in a similar way. Previous trials in Germany and China correspond well to the regulatory measuring stations. Every two seconds, a measuring signal is transmitted to the receiver. Depending on the customers’ requirements the determined values can be averaged over minutes or hours. Due to the continuous measuring principle, the values contain a high level of information density and have therefore also a great expressiveness.

Moreover, through the WLAN-capability and the connection of several sensors, it can be defined precisely, where and when the fine dust pollution comes from. This is shown by the evaluation of our test results.

Measuring principle

Two optical sensors form the centerpieces of the FDS 15, which determine the dust content on basis of the scattered light method.
The sucked air is preheated to 50 °C and maintained constantly on this level. In this context, it doesn´t matter what the weather is like or which measuring location is selected. Via an integrated fan, flow enforcement takes place and guarantees air exchange. With the establishment and design, we´ve putting emphasis on compactness.

If you would like to get more technical details, you can download the technical datasheet (on the source website).

One fine dust sensor, various application possibilities

This device is applicable to stationary or mobile use to control air quality both indoor and outdoor, which plays an important role in workplace air quality monitoring for instance in factory halls. The FDS 15 can also be integrated in urban agglomerations e.g. on street poles or transport hubs. Airports, public buildings and industrial areas were also addressees.

The fine dust sensor FDS 15 can be used very versatile for example:

Air management system (ventilation control)
Air quality system (supplement to air quality monitoring systems, CO2-concentration measuring systems in rooms
Workplace Monitoring
Filter Monitoring in terms of air return
Ambient Monitoring
Controlling tool (detection of diffuse emission sources)
Benefit-Kit (additional device for meteorological stations)

The advantages are clear:

Regardless of weather conditions
Continuous fine dust measurement
Attractively priced, industrial-suited measuring device
Easy data-output via standard interface
Low maintenance operation
Robust construction and compact design
This makes the FDS 15 to a manageable and true all-rounder looking for their equals.

The result counts: Precise fine dust monitoring under test conditions

The FDS 15 was tested under different conditions in practice. Three results will be presented now:

At New Year’s Eve the fine dust pollution reaches concentrations that were never as high as on this annual event. The analysis of the measuring results clearly shows the impact of weather phenomenons on the dust content. A change in the weather facilitates air exchanges. In the rain, air pollutants can be “washed out”. Normally, the lower air layer is warmer than the layer above. In times of atmospheric inversion, the upper air layer is hotter than the layer beneath, so that the air exchange is blocked. The pollutants contained in the air were captured at ground level and accumulated over hours and even days. We observed these high air pollution concentrations on 02.01.2016 in Leipzig.

In a foundry we determined the fine dust concentration, averaged over five minutes, caused by welding fume. The analysis clearly shows at what time production-related work peaks occur. The continuous measuring principle offers the opportunity to monitor air quality at the work place and to control exhaustion and filter systems in order to improve the quality of production processes and preventive health care of employees. Therewith energy can be saved since the exhaustion capacity is adjusted depending on the real measured dust load.

Not least because of our mobile measurements, performed together with our cooperation partner G. Lufft Mess- und Regeltechnik GmbH and the mobile weather sensor MARWIS, unveils excellent results…”

For the full article, please follow the link provided.


Dust Monitoring Equipment – providing equipment, services and training in dust fallout management to the mining industry.

Invisible Fine Dust

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