GF tape improves data collection in continuous air monitoring
Find out why using glass fiber filter tape can support reliable measurement of particulate matter in continuous air monitoring research, offering increased efficiency and consistency during data collection and analysis.
From companies needing to regulate the number of particulates released from their plants, to government agencies such as the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) studying human and environmental health — air monitoring is vital in today’s world.
There are two main methods used to conduct air monitoring research: manual and continuous. Here, we focus on continuous air monitoring using beta attenuation to measure air particulate matter such as PM1, PM2.5, PM10, and total suspended particulate (TSP).
How does continuous air quality monitoring work?
Continuous air monitors measure the amount of particulates in ambient air or stationary emissions by capturing particulates on glass fiber (GF) filter tape. Once set up, these monitors work automatically, requiring the minimum of attention, and can function without disruption for several months, depending on the sampler and length of GF tape.
Continuous air monitors that use beta attenuation measure the absorption of beta radiation by particulates extracted from ambient air and captured on glass fiber filter tape. This provides an accurate proxy for the amount of particulates. Regular calibrations using gravimetric analysis ensure the beta attenuation monitoring (BAM) device remains accurate and produces consistent results.
Using high quality glass fiber (GF) filter tape in your continuous air monitoring devices is a key contributor to achieving reliable, reproducible results in real-time (e.g. every hour), and reduces the risk of missing data points because of a measurement failure.
Glass fiber tape for continuous monitoring
GF tape that has been manufactured for high tensile strength and flexibility is suitable for continuous air monitoring. Listed below are a few common challenges and ways you can prevent these by using high quality GF tape.
Missing data points
Continuous data is essential to accurate air monitoring, but tape breakage can result in missing data. If the GF tape in your device requires regular replacements, this can quickly cost you a lot of time and reduce data completeness.
GF tapes optimized for air monitoring, such as our Whatman GF10 tapes, are composed of borosilicate glass fiber, which is specially treated during the manufacturing process to provide high tensile strength and flexibility for high mechanical stability.
This enhancement enables the glass fibers to bend without breaking or shedding fibers, which is particularly important in the reel format used in beta attenuation monitors.
Monitoring air quality in challenging environments
The specialized glass fiber also helps to keep the GF tape performing well in complex environments such as fluctuating or very high temperatures (up to 180°C for our Whatman tapes) and high humidity.
The treatment during the manufacturing process not only reduces the risk of the GF tape breaking, but also gives it excellent performance stability under varying humidity and temperature, resulting in long product life for continuous data monitoring (e.g. up to 6 months).
Meeting global regulations
Not all countries have the same regulatory standards, so a device designed to meet standards in one country might not always meet those in another.
Using products that meet widely recognized standards (e.g. ISO or ASTM) can reduce the risk of your data being challenged, either when demonstrating that emissions are below the maximum levels set by organizations like the EPA, or when providing results and analyses of pollution worldwide.
Our Whatman GF filters go through multiple quality control (QC) tests, including dispersed oil particulate (DOP) testing, to ensure all filters retain at least 99.9% of particulates of 0.3 µm. Manufacturing filters that meet universal standards means organizations all over the world can depend on them for consistently reliable air particulate sampling.
Choices for air monitoring
At Cytiva, our Whatman range includes a variety of air particulate monitoring products, including different types of glass fiber filters, quartz filters, and membrane filters for particulate and chemical analysis.
High purity quartz, consisting of pure SiO2, is an alternative to glass fiber filters that offers low levels of impurities for a further step up in accuracy. These filters are suited for organic carbon/elemental carbon (OC/EC) monitoring.
Our Whatman GF tapes meet global standards used in continuous air monitoring devices and produce reliable and consistent results, even in complex environments. We offer two specialized products:
- GF10 is a standard filter for the beta attenuation method, with a retention efficiency of 99.9%.
- HGF61 filter tape was developed to suit high-humidity environments and has a retention efficiency of 99.99%.
The GF tapes we produce can be customized by length and size of reel, offering compatibility with most air monitoring devices. We can modify our glass fiber and customize products for your specific application needs.
Our team of filtration experts has a long history in working with organizations that carry out air monitoring and can advise on the most suitable products for a given situation. Contact your local Cytiva representative to discuss your needs.