Balázs Berlinger1,2, Torunn K. Ervik This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.1, Konrad Kandler3, Bente Ulvestad4, Nathalie Benker3, Dag G. Ellingsen1, Merete D. Bugge4 

1 Chemical Work Environment, National Institute of Occupational Health, Pb 5330 Majorstuen, 0304 Oslo, Norway
2 Soos Research and Development Center, University of Pannonia, Zrinyi Miklos str. 18, 8800 Nagykanizsa, Hungary
3 Institut für Angewandte Geowissenschaften, Technische Universität Darmstadt, Schnittspahnstr. 9, 64287 Darmstadt, Germany
4 Occupational Medicine and Epidemiology, National Institute of Occupational Health, Pb 5330 Majorstuen, 0304 Oslo, Norway

Received: October 14, 2020
Revised: January 15, 2021
Accepted: January 17, 2021

 Copyright The Author(s). This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are cited.

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Berlinger, B., Ervik, T.K., Kandler, K., Ulvestad, B., Benker, N., Ellingsen, D.G., Bugge, M.D. (2021). Challenge with a Personal Cascade Impactor Sampler in a Silicon Metal Smelter. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 21, 200577.


  • Sioutas cascade impactors were applied to collect PM in a silicon metal smelter.
  • Wall deposition was substantial in the upper stages of the impactors.
  • Wall deposition might not affect the collection of the finest particles (< 0.25 µm).
  • SiO2 particles forming chain structures were dominating in the PM.
  • The primary SiO2 particles had a diameter of 10–500 nm.


Cascade impactors are useful tools in the measurement of particle size mass distribution of workplace aerosols. The application of cascade impactors, however, is sometimes challenging. Personal aerosol samples were collected by Sioutas cascade impactors and respirable cyclones in parallel in a silicon (Si) metal smelter to investigate the different particulate matter (PM) fractions. In a second campaign, nine new air samples were collected with the Sioutas personal cascade impactors using stationary sampling. It was found that wall deposition was substantial in the upper stages of the Sioutas cascade impactors, which meant that quite often more PM was deposited on the inner walls of the impactor than on the filter substrates. At the same time, wall deposition did most probably not affect the collection of the finest particles (< 0.25 µm). Besides wall deposition of the particles, the effect of high PM concentration on the impactor performance, particle bouncing and blow off, high particle mass loading and impact fragmentation of the particle agglomerates were considered for explaining the malfunctioning of the Sioutas impactors in the Si metal smelter. Furthermore, concentrations of the finest PM fraction (< 0.25 µm) and respirable fraction both collected by personal sampling are reported and discussed in the paper.

Keywords: Ultrafine particles, Respirable fraction, Sioutas cascade impactor, Wall deposition

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