Measurement of the human respiratory tract deposited surface area of particles with an electrical low pressure impactor

Teemu Lepistö, Heino Kuuluvainen, Paxton Juuti, Anssi Järvinen, Anssi Arffman, Topi Rönkkö

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
23 Downloads (Pure)


Particle deposition in the human respiratory tract is considered to have negative effects on human health. The lung deposited surface area (LDSA) is an important metric developed to assess the negative health effects of particles deposited in the alveolar region of the human respiratory tract. The measurement of the LDSA is frequently based on the detection of the electrical current carried by diffusion charged particles. Various conversion factors can be used to convert the electric current into LDSA concentration with relatively good accuracy up to the size about 300-600 nm. In this study, we introduce stage-specific LDSA conversion factors for electrical low pressure impactor (ELPI+) data, which enable accurate and real time LDSA concentration and LDSA size distribution measurements in the particle size range from 6 nm to 10 µm. This wide size range covers most of the alveolar deposition of particles, which has not been possible previously by electrical methods. Also, the conversion factors for tracheobronchial and head airways particle surface area deposition were determined, and the stage-specific conversion factors were compared with the single-factor data conversion method. Furthermore, the stage-specific calibration was tested against real-world particle size distributions by simulations and against laboratory-generated aerosols. Particles larger than 300 nm were observed to significantly affect the total LDSA concentration. Stage-specific conversion factors are especially required while measuring aerosols containing larger particles or when considering the surface area deposition in the tracheobronchial region and head airways. The method and the conversion factors introduced in this study can be used to monitor LDSA concentrations reliably in various environments containing particles in different size ranges.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)958-971
Number of pages15
JournalAerosol Science and Technology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Pollution


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