Measuring Air Pollutants

Measuring Air Pollutants
William Chiang, a former Jet Propulsion Laboratory engineer, founded California Measurements, Inc., and obtained a NASA license for the multiple crystal oscillator technology. The technology, which was used as real time particle mass sensors in the company's PC-2H 10 Stage Air Particle Analyzer, can determine the size and quantity of aerosols in the atmosphere at a particular time. Aerosols are tiny particles in the air, which can be inhaled. They are deposited into the atmosphere through natural events like volcanic eruptions, and everyday human activities. Aerosols can also be generated during surgery and may be a source of disease transmission in hospital operating rooms. Dr. Don Jewett, Head of the Special Studies Unit, Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Medical Center of the University of California at San Francisco initiated a research project to help understand the formation and character of aerosol particles in the medical environment. Using a California Measurement PC-2H 10 stage Aerosol Particle Analyzer, the research project's conclusions, widely disseminated through technical forums, were that a significant amount of blood aerosols were generated during surgery where power tools were employed. Dr. Robert Miller, a dentist and aero-biologist, also used the California Measurement PC-2H 10 stage Aerosol Particle Analyzer in research to determine the presence of blood aerosols generated during oral surgery and other dental procedures involving power tools. Researchers who need in-depth information on the particle size and mass concentration of the fine particles in the ambient air outdoors also use the instrument to get data in real time and on site.

NASA Applications
Crystal oscillator technology was originally built for atmospheric and air pollution research, and has been used to analyze the smoke plumes of launch vehicles, effluents from solid rocket boosters, and is used routinely to study the effects of atmospheric aerosols on climate, such as volcanic eruptions.

Commercial Applications
In an operating room, the California Measurements Inc., crystal oscillator technology enabled researchers from the University of California to obtain accurate data regarding aerosols generated during surgery when power tools are used. These aerosols are small enough to pass through surgical masks. Other applications include testing for particle concentrations from smoking, aerosol cans for cosmetic companies, smoke particles from fires, air pollution studies and environmental health research. It is also useful in testing the efficiency of various air filters and cleaners.

Social & Economic Benefits

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