A Scattering Methodology for Droplet Sizing of E-Cigarette Aerosols


Authored by  P Pratte, S Cosandey, C Goujon-Ginglinger

Published in Inhalation Toxicology     

Abstract

Context: Knowledge of the droplet size distribution of inhalable aerosols is important to predict aerosol deposition yield at various respiratory tract locations in human. Optical methodologies are usually preferred over the multi-stage cascade impactor for high-throughput measurements of aerosol particle/droplet size distributions.

Objective: Evaluate the Laser Aerosol Spectrometer technology based on Polystyrene Sphere Latex (PSL) calibration curve applied for the experimental determination of droplet size distributions in the diameter range typical of commercial e-cigarette aerosols (147–1361 nm).

Materials and methods: This calibration procedure was tested for a TSI Laser Aerosol Spectrometer (LAS) operating at a wavelength of 633 nm and assessed against model di-ethyl-hexyl-sebacat (DEHS) droplets and e-cigarette aerosols. The PSL size response was measured, and intra- and between-day standard deviations calculated.

Results: DEHS droplet sizes were underestimated by 15–20% by the LAS when the PSL calibration curve was used; however, the intra- and between-day relative standard deviations were < 3%. This bias is attributed to the fact that the index of refraction of PSL calibrated particles is different in comparison to test aerosols. This 15–20% does not include the droplet evaporation component, which may reduce droplet size prior a measurement is performed. Aerosol concentration was measured accurately with a maximum uncertainty of 20%. Count median diameters and mass median aerodynamic diameters of selected e-cigarette aerosols ranged from 130–191 nm to 225–293 nm, respectively, similar to published values.

Discussion and conclusion: The LAS instrument can be used to measure e-cigarette aerosol droplet size distributions with a bias underestimating the expected value by 15–20% when using a precise PSL calibration curve. Controlled variability of DEHS size measurements can be achieved with the LAS system; however, this method can only be applied to test aerosols having a refractive index close to that of PSL particles used for calibration.