Tel: +44 (0)1608 810110

Current and Prospective Research

PM2.5 Sampling and Characterisation

We have developed a prototype PM2.5 impactor inlet for our battery-powered DS500X gravimetric PM sampler. The validation of the new impactor is being undertaken by the British Geological Survey (BGS) and is partly funded by Innovate UK. PM2.5 is often referred to as 'high risk' respirable dust. Alongside the validation project, we are working with the University of Portsmouth to test a range of filter materials to optimise XRD and ICP-MS characterisation of the fine material collected. These projects could lead to developments of forensic and medical significance. We are particularly interested in relationships between specifc dusts and disease.

If you are interested please contact Geoffrey Walton or Oliver Puddle.

Dust Dispersion Modelling

DustScan and SEES at the University of Portsmouth are currently seeking funding for research in respect of sub-regional dust mapping. For large sites and for forensic investigations this is an important, developing area in our understanding of dust movements and dust characterisation in relation to natural soil and rock types in the vicinity. We have an archive of over 60,000 samples collected from sites all around the United Kingdom (and overseas) relating to different industries and localities. There is a potential for comparing our sample data with that of other organisations such as the BGS. We are also keen to investigate correlations and differences that may exist between industrial dust geochemistry and local soil and rock geochemistry and to investigate long term dust dispersion from single industrial sources by modelling.

If you are interested please contact Ayan Chakravartty or John Bruce.

New Analytical Software

Over the past three years we have been re-developing our DustScan analysis software with a view to making it available on license to selected consultancies and research organisations. This project is nearing completion and we are now testing the software alongside our existing system. We hope to launch a licensed version of DS2 (DS3), the new analytical software, in 2015; we will then be open to enquiries regarding licensing. This facility could be of particular interest to selected overseas users.

Vegetation as a Dust Screen

We are interested in research into the use of specific trees and shrubs as dust screens. Conventionally trees and shrubs are used for visual screens, but it is known that dust is quite effectively trapped by vegetation on some sites. The investigation would explore the types and varieties of vegetation that are most useful, but also least effected by their role as a dust screen. Currently DustScan is looking for partner institutions and companies in the extractive and related industry sectors including planners and landscape architects who may be interested in co-operating.

If you are interested please contact Geoffrey Walton or Hugh Datson.

Dust and Solar Panels

It has long been recognised that dust has an adverse effect on power generation at solar farms (with concentrated solar panel layouts) and DustScan has been approached by firms with a variety of interests in this sector including the potential physical and chemical impacts of specific dusts.

If you are interested in this topic please contact Hugh Datson.

Dust Monitoring Methods

DustScan has a policy of continually updating and improving the monitoring equipment that it designs and assembles. This includes matters such as:-

  • Regularly reviewing and assessing the adhesives we use on sticky pads
  • Improving the PM10 and soon to be trialled PM2.5 dust monitor 
  • Enhancing the dust entrapment for our dust deposition gauge. Investigations are about to start in which our existing dust deposition monitor is linked to a traditional Frisbee bowl.

Any inquiries about our monitoring equipment should be directed Oliver Puddle.

Other Research

Most of our regular dust monitoring and reporting work is in response to regulatory and planning concerns. However we are frequently asked to assess dust in more challenging and unusual environments and settings. Some of these can be quite complicated matters and we are happy to undertake the necessary background research that may be needed to solve problems or understand the impacts of the range of natural phenomena that influence dusting levels. We are always willing to independently advise on approaches without commitment on either side. In particular we are interested in discussions with others regarding social and environmental criteria surrounding perceptions and attitudes to dust. Whilst this is addressed in respect of IAQM guidance (2012) for construction sites it largely focusses on PM10 in urban areas. Research needs to consider more recent monitoring methods than those that were available to previous workers in the 1990s when dealing with public perception issues relating to the definition of ‘nuisance’ dust and to extend work to a wider range of sites.

If you are interested in this please contact Hugh Datson or Ayan Chakravartty.