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Air Sampler


    The High Volume Air Sampler is used to acquire samples of airborne particulates. Air is pulled through a filter that rests under a weather cap at an average rate of 650 L/min. To perform the most basic test, in addition to the air sampled and provided filters, you will need a desiccator and an analytical balance (1 mg accuracy).

The simplest test involves quantifying the mass of particulates that adhere to the filter after the pump has been run for a four hour period. A more complex analysis would be to compare the amount of particulates in a sample inside and outside of a building. The Air Sample can also be used to obtain a sample for more involved chemical identification and quantification of each type of particulate. This chemical analysis can be done with chemicals available in most high school chemistry laboratories.

Requirements: The Air Sampler needs to be plugged in to operate. Therefore, outside samples can be acquired in outside locations that have access to electricity. Filter paper must be weighed on an analytical balance (not included).

Suggested Grade Levels
: 10th and above
Suggested Courses: Environmental Science
Video Demonstration: (None available at this time)


  1. Weigh the filter paper on the analytical balance.

  2. Place a filter on the supporting screen on top of the sampler. Hold the filter in place with the white cover. This also forces all of the air to pass through the filter.

  3. Place the sampler in the desired location and let it run for four hours.

  4. Record the initial and final flow rates of the air sampler by
    1. either reading the pressure differential on the manomter OR
    2. allowing the sample to inflate a large plastic bag of known volume both before and after the four hour test period. Record the time it takes to fill the bag. Use the average of the two flow rates in your calculations.

  5. After sampling for four hours, remove the filter paper and place iti in a desiccator to remove any moisture.

  6. Weigh the filter paper again to determine the net gain of collected particulate material collected per cubic meter of air sampled.

SAGE Bristol,
Feb 7, 2012, 11:35 AM