Aerosol Particle Generator

Aerosol Particle Generator

Definition and Description of an Aerosol

An aerosol can be defined as a system of solid particles or liquid droplets that can remain dispersed in a gas, usually air. Naturally occurring aerosols, as well as those emitted by clinical aerosol generators, almost always contain a wide range of particle sizes. Because the aerodynamic behavior of an aerosolized particle is critically influenced by its mass, it is important to be able to describe precisely the size distribution of aerosolized particles. In clinical studies the mass median aerodynamic diameter (MMAD) and the geometric standard deviation (σg) are often used to characterize the dimensions of an aerosol. When the mass distribution of particles in an aerosol is fractionated and the cumulative particle distribution plotted as a lognormal distribution on probability paper, it often approximates a straight line. However, recent studies of clinical aerosols have indicated that nebulized particles are often not lognormal in distribution.5 The MMAD represents the point in the distribution above which 50% of the mass resides, expressed as the diameter of a unit density (1 g/mL) sphere having the same terminal settling velocity as the aerosol particle in question, regardless of its shape and density. The definition of the mass median diameter is the same as that of the MMAD except that the data are not normalized to unit density.