Desempenho de filtros fibrosos operando na remoção de partículas nanométricas de aerossóis.
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The increase in the air pollution in the last decades is causing a strong increase in the monitoring and control of emissions of particulate matter in the atmosphere, in order to minimize the problems caused to the environment and to the human health. Particularly, the behavior nanometric particles in the air needs special attention. The fiber filters, one of the oldest methods of particle removal, are, in principle, capable to operate in this size range, but data on their performance are still scarce. In this work, the behavior of an industrial filter of polyester and of a high efficiency (HEPA) filter was studied with the intention of evaluating their performance operating in the removal of nanometric particles from aerosols. The polyester filter had a porosity of 0.884, a thickness of 4.5 mm and diameter of fiber of 16 m and the HEPA filter the porosity of 0.920, thickness of 0.4 mm and diameter of fibers between 0.075 and 2.35 µm. The test aerosol was composed by monodispersed NaCl particles, obtained from the Electrospray Aerosol Generator, model 3480, from TSI, using salt solutions in concentrations from 0.5 to 5.0 g/L. The size of the generated particles varied from 8.4 to 94.8 nm. To determine this diameter, images in an Electronic Transmission Microscope were obtained and analyzed in the image analyzer Image Pro Plus, 3.0. The filtration device was built in acrylic with a filtration area of 40 cm2. The performance of the filters was evaluated through the analysis of the collection efficiency of the nanometric particles, by counting the particles before and after the filter, using a TSI Condensation Nuclei Particle Counter , model 3007. The filter of polyester showed a maximum collection efficiency of 0.990. The HEPA filter demonstrated its capacity to collect particles in this size range, obtaining larger efficiencies than 0.99994. The increase of the filtration velocity, as well as the increase of the diameter of the particles resulted in smaller efficiencies in both filters, typical behavior of filters operating in the range of predominance of the diffusional mechanism. When compared to theoretical models form the literature, it was verified poor fitting. Therefore, it is suggested an adjustment to the LIU and RUBOW (1990) model, and an effective increase in the mechanism of direct interception caused by the Brownian motion was introduced. In the case of the HEPA filters, considering the observed discrepancy between theory and experiment, an approach that took into account the fiber size distribution of the filter was proposed. In both cases a sensitive improvement was verified in the adjustment of the theoretical prediction to the experimental data