Detection of aerosols using LIBS for industrial and environmental issues

Abstract : Aerosols may be defined as an ensemble of solid and / or liquid particles suspended in a gas with sizes ranging from a few nanometers to a few micrometers. Aerosols released in the course of industrial processes may represent a threat for workers and the environment. Possible emission of micrometric / submicrometric particles of heavy metals at exhaust stacks of foundries and incinerators is a telling example. Current elemental analysis techniques require time consuming procedures involving several steps. Skilled personnel are sent to the sites where samples are to be picked up. Back to the laboratory, these are prepared prior to the analysis itself. The above considerations emphasize the need to develop an instrument allowing in-situ and real-time elemental identification and mass concentration determination of airborne particles. A LIBS-based system may be the appropriate tool to deal with such delicate issue. It is intended to be operated on-site, in automatic mode, without manual intervention except for maintenance. The LIBS analysis of aerosols presents peculiarities of its own. Time delays to be applied are much longer than those usually found when analyzing solids. There is a particle size above which the particulate is not entirely vaporized. In addition, ensemble averaging does not always apply depending on particle concentration. After having analyzed these specificities and having taken them into account, experiments have been carried that demonstrate the potential of the LIBS technique for in-situ and real time quantitative detection of heavy metals in particulate form. A transportable LIBS system was first calibrated in laboratory using aerosol generators and other instruments (such as APS (Aerosol Particle Sizer) to determine size distribution and a TEOM (Tappered Element Oscillating Microbalance) for particle mass concentration determination). The LIBS analyzer was then put to the test in a French research and development center specialized in metal casting (CTIF). Mass concentrations of copper particles released through an evacuation duct when melting copper bars in an induction furnace were monitored in real time.
Keywords : LIBS AEROSOLS
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Conference papers
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Christophe Dutouquet. Detection of aerosols using LIBS for industrial and environmental issues. 8th Euro-Mediterranean Symposium on Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (EMSLIBS 2015), Sep 2015, Linz, Austria. pp.44. ⟨ineris-01855100⟩

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