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.

Gravimetric and Other Testing

 

Gravimetric Dust Analysis

A commonly-used method of assessing the level of dust annoyance or ‘nuisance’ is the mass deposition rate of settled dust, typically expressed in terms of mg/m2/day (milligrams per square metre per day). Gravimetric dust analysis allows the mass of dust collected by our DustDisc and other deposited dust gauges to be measured and expressed in terms of a daily deposition rate and compared against a ‘custom and practice’ threshold of 200 mg/m2/day as a means of assessing site performance. During DustDisc gravimetric analysis, a known area of exposed sticky pad is removed from the sample, and the adhesive is dissolved using organic solvents. The released solids are then filtered by vacuum filtration and the dust collected onto a pre-conditioned and pre-weighed filter paper in a controlled laboratory environment. The filter paper is then post-conditioned and accurately re-weighed, to determine the total mass of dust present. This value is then expressed as a daily deposition rate in mg/m2/day.

DustScanAQ also undertakes gravimetric dust analysis of samples collected by Frisbee and Bergerhoff-type deposited dust gauges, both of which may also be used to monitor dust levels on sites across the UK and Ireland. The results are also reported as mg/m2/day.

Similarly, gravimetric analysis also applies to samples collected using our DS500X filter-reference PM10 samplers and samples from personal/occupational exposure monitor inlets. Pre-weighed filters are re-weighed after sampling to assess the mass concentration of PM10 and inhalable or respirable dust collected respectively. PM10 data are reported as an inferred 24-hour average in µg/m3 (micrograms per cubic metre) and occupational exposure data are reported as 8-hour TWA in mg/m3 (milligrams per cubic meter).

All gravimetric dust analyses undertaken by DustScanAQ take place in a temperature and humidity controlled laboratory. Filters are conditioned prior to weighing before and after processing to remove moisture content and to improve the accuracy of reported data.

Other Testing

DustScanAQ offer a range of other analytical techniques, through accredited partner laboratories, to complement our optical microscopy, elemental and chemical analyses. X-Ray Diffraction (XRD) can be used to identify the minerals present within the crystalline fraction of dust samples by determining their unique atomic and molecular structure. This analytical technique is typically employed when quantitative data are required from samples that are predominantly crystalline in nature.

When assessing workplace exposure to dust, there may be a need to test for Respirable Crystalline Silica (RCS). RCS is a known carcinogen and can be generated through processes such as cutting stone or handling certain aggregate materials. RCS can be of particular concern at sites involved with construction, demolition, mineral extraction or aggregate recycling. DustScanAQ utilises the XRD services at the Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL) and others to assess workplace exposure to RCS. The results are included as part of the workplace exposure report.

Other tests on dust include particle size analysis (PSA) and density measurement. PSA produces a particle grading curve showing the size distribution of particles. Particle size analysis can be used in environmental forensics studies where materials of interest have a known size fraction.

DustScanAQ has links with numerous academic institutions, including the Universities of Portsmouth, Oxford, Newcastle upon Tyne and Leeds. This enables us to design detailed plans of analysis to suit the specific needs of our clients. For more details on testing or for advice on sample analysis please call the DustScanAQ office on 01608 810110.

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 .

Equipment

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.