About DustScan

DustScanAQ is the new trading name for DustScan Ltd; we have recently rebranded to reflect our growing air quality consultancy expertise and involvement in air quality matters. DustScan Ltd was established in 2004 as a spin-off company from Leeds University. The firm is based in Oxfordshire, UK.

Dust Analysis

The DustScan computer-based scanning and analysis system, based on the use of sticky pads, was specifically designed for dust annoyance assessment and is far more sensitive than many other methods. This method originated at the University of Leeds in the 1990s, and was refined, developed and validated through a series of research projects.

Each sample received is sealed (to encapsulate the dust and protect the sample from contamination) labelled and given a unique identifier in a secure database. The sample is then scanned and the image processed using in-house software to generate the Absolute Area Coverage (AAC) and Effective Area Coverage (EAC) for the sample. Both AAC and EAC are expressed as percentages. %AAC is unique to DustScan; %EAC was first developed in the 1980s to measure dust soiling and the version was adapted by the firm in the early 2000s. A newer, digital approach is taken covering the entire spectrum (from white to black) in contrast to the earlier ‘analogue’ methods of measuring greyscale such as with a smoke-stain reflectometer.

  • %AAC is the coverage of dust, irrespective of colour. So long as it can be seen it in the scanned image, any dust, pale or dark can be recorded as AAC. As a result AAC is a very sensitive measure and is especially effective in detecting low levels of dust which might not show up by other sampling techniques.
  • %EAC is the darkness or greyscale discolouration of dust and is used as a measure of dust soiling. Unlike AAC, EAC is a measure of the darkness, or soiling caused by dust so for the same colour dust (be it chalk or coal), %EAC generally increases with dust coverage.

In combination, DustScan has developed a widely-recognised dust annoyance ‘risk assessment’ protocol, combining dust coverage as %AAC and dust soiling as %EAC. For directional samples, increased ‘dust annoyance risk’ indicates increased potential for dust annoyance in the direction shown; for depositional samples, increased ‘risk’ indicates potential for dust annoyance at that location.

DustScanAQ would be pleased to hear from you if you would like to discuss your requirements and how we can help you with your project, please contact us on 01608 810110 or email .


DustScanAQ provide low cost dust monitoring solutions. We supply directional and depositional sticky pad dust gauges, gravimetric filter-reference PM10 and PM2.5 samplers and also specify and install real-time air quality and meteorological monitoring equipment. Our dust monitoring equipment has many applications; from compliance requirements to detailed assessments of particulate movements arising from industrial, commercial, construction or other activities. Dust monitoring also provides us with samples used for forensic analysis of potential and actual contamination.