Submitted to: Journal of Hazardous Materials
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/15/2005
Publication Date: 4/30/2006
Citation: Gill, T., Zobeck, T.M., Stout, J.E. 2006. Technologies for laboratory generation of dust from geological materials. Journal of Hazardous Materials. 132:23-38.
Interpretive Summary: Dust samples created from soils and other sediments are used to test the dust potential, characteristics, and environmental and health impacts of the samples. A large number of different types of devices have been used in a number of different scientific areas to create dust from bulk samples of soils or sediments. Dozens of different devices designed to create dust from soils and sediments under controlled laboratory conditions are described in this paper. When choosing which instrument to use, scientists must consider the type of process to be tested. For example, some devices collect fine particles not bound to other particles in the sample while others may grind or rotate the sample to create new dust from larger clumps of particles. The amount of 'dustiness' in a sample, also called the dust index, has been calculated in different ways. This manuscript points out that standardized dust-production devices and definitions of dustiness will improve comparisons between laboratories and instruments.
Technical Abstract: Dusts generated in the laboratory from soils and sediments are used to evaluate the emission intensities, composition, and environmental and health impacts of mineral aerosols. Laboratory dust generation is also utilized in other disciplines including process control and occupational hygiene in manufacturing, inhalation toxicology, environmental health and epidemiology, and pharmaceutics. Many widely-available and/or easily-obtainable laboratory or commercial appliances can be used to generate mineral aerosols, and several distinct classes of dust generators (fluidization devices, dustfall chambers, rotating drums/tubes) are used for geological particulate studies. Dozens of different devices designed to create dust from soils and sediments under controlled laboratory conditions are documented and described in this paper. When choosing a specific instrument, investigators must consider some important caveats: different classes of dust generators characterize different properties (complete collection of a small puff of aerosol vs. sampling of a representative portion of a large aerosol cloud) and physical processes (resuspension of deposited dust vs. in situ production of dust). The quantity “dustiness” has been used in industrial and environmental health research; though it has been quantified in different ways by different investigators, it should also be applicable to studies of geological aerosol production. Using standardized dust-production devices and definitions of dustiness will improve comparisons between laboratories and instruments: lessons learned from other disciplines can be used to improve laboratory research on the generation of atmospheric dusts from geological sources.