# Air Flow Calibrations

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1 Air Flow Calibrations Steven E. Guffey, PhD, CIH I. Introduction A. Evaluation of exposures B. Direct measurement C. Collection and analysis of samples for TWA 1

2 A. Evaluation of Exposures Measure a concentration of contaminant in air - Collect sample of contaminant using sampling pump or by other means - Measure amount of air drawn during sampling - Measure amount of contaminant collected - Calculate the concentration B. Direct Measurement Device that directly quantifies the amount of contaminant in the air - Real time measurement - Series of instantaneous concentrations, or - Continuous indication of the concentration 2

3 C. Collection and Analysis of Samples for Time Weighted Average (TWA) Sampling device collects the contaminant and separates it from a volume of air Single, integrated measurement over a length of time allows only a time average concentration Later analysis of the collected contaminant(s) More topics * Air flow measuring devices * Advantages and limitations of each type of device. * Proper use of each type. * Calibration of pumps and secondary standard devices 3

4 Steps in sampling air Sample with a collection device Draw air with an air mover Measure the volume of air accurately - The accuracy of the concentration depends on the accuracy of the measurement of the air volume. - The volume is measured by control of flow for a set time. Vocabulary Flow--the volume of air drawn per time Flow (Q) = Volume (Vol) / time (t), Usually in terms of liters per minute (LPM or L/min) or ml/min. 4

5 A. Pumps - 1. Hand operated II. Air Movers» Single, fixed volume (detector tube pumps)» Continuous sampling (obsolete) - 2. Motor driven» diaphragm, piston, vane» adjustable flow, constant flow, pressure regulated. B. Pumps Location/size: Portable (personal) vs stationary (area) High volume: usually too large for person to wear. Used for bulk sampling (e.g., for free silica analyses) and for collection of fine particulates. Low flow (10 ml/min to 1.0 L/min): typical for personal sampling of gases and vapors on activated charcoal Moderate flow (1.0 L/min to 2.0 L/min): typical for personal sampling of aerosols Line operated vs. battery operated vs. rechargeable 5

6 Pumps (Continued) Manual Adjustable flow Flow controlled Pressure controlled Feedback control Programmable III. Measurement of Flow Flow is measured by the volume of air moved per unit amount of time.» Q = V / t,» Where Q = flow, V = Volume, and t is time. 6

7 Standard Levels of Flow Measurement Primary - Measurements generally involve a direct measurement of volume on the basis of the physical dimensions of an enclosed space. Secondary - Standards are reference instruments or meters which trace their calibration to primary standards and are capable of maintaining their accuracy. Intermediate A. Primary Standard Flow Measuring Devices 1. Instruments measure volume based on measured dimensions (i.e., length) 2. Examples» Soap Bubble Meters» Spirometers» Sealed piston Devices. 7

8 Primary standard Can be directly related to measured dimensions & time Simple, light weight, accurate, stable Fragile, messy liquids for field applications 1. Soap Bubble Meters ²h Buret Soap bubble A=š(D/2) 2 To pu Schematic drawing of a spirometer Primary standard Can be directly related to measured dimensions & time Accurate, used for medical applications Bulky, difficult to move, require liquid Not a field instrument. Scale Counterweight Bell Air Cavity Fluid Three-way valve Stand pipe 8

9 Secondary Standard Devices Require calibration against a primary device May need repeated calibrations May not be as accurate as primary B. Secondary Flow Measuring Equipment 1. Rotameters 2. Wet test meters 3. Dry gas meters 9

10 1. Rotameters Upper bushing O-ring seal Handy for field work. Need calibration. Accurate and precise when calibrated and maintained. Glass or plastic Measurement dependent on temperature and pressure Upper stop Flowmeter tube Plastic shield Flowmeter ball Lower stop O-ring seal Lower bushing Six kinds of rotameter floats Float reading taken here Dual floats (glass and stainless-steel spheres) Plumb-bob float Viscositystable float Ultraviscositystable float T-shaped float Combination float 10

11 Typical Rotameter Floats (Read float at widest dimension!) Read here Spherical Plumb bob Read here Spool Cylindrical (marked) 1. Rotameters (Continued) Measurement dependent on temperature (T) and pressure (P) of airstream passing through it Q 2 = Q 1 (den 1 /den 2 ) 0.5 = Q 1 (P 1 T 2 / P 2 T 1 )

12 Calibration of Rotameters Calibrate against a primary flow measuring device Measure the indicated flow against the actual flow Repeat across the working range of the meter Rotamet er f low rat e (lpm) Burette flow rate (lpm) Revised calibration curve for rotameter using bubble meter Measured flow rate ( lpm) Rotometer flow rate (lpm) 12

13 Effect of Loading and Restricted Flow on Rotameter Readings 10 Comparison of changes in filter resistance for five filters Nucleopore AA Millipore Glass filter Metricel "Dirty" Vacuum (inches w at er) Rotometer flow rate (lpm) Pressure effects on pump & rotameter functioning Pump calibration vs. a standard at different pressures Ambient r 2 = inches water r 2 = inches water r 2 =0.99 Buret te f low rat e (lpm) Rotameter flow rate (lpm) 13

14 B. Other Secondary Flow Measuring Equipment 2. Wet test meter - Bulky - Liquid filled - Atmospheric pressure Water funnel for filling Water level sight glass Water level Calibrating point Gas pressure gauge Gas thermometer Gas outlet on back of meter Gas inlet on back of meter Partitioned drum (rotor) B. Other Secondary Flow Measuring Equipment Mechanical valve and counter mechanism Meter readout index 3. Dry Gas Meters - Non-portable - Large - Higher flow - Stable - Industrial applications Bellows or diaphragm cubic feet 14

15 Dry Gas Meters Schematic diagram showing principle of operation of twinlobed positive displacement meter C. Other Flow measuring Devices 1.Electronic bubble meters 2.Dry cal meters 3.Mass flow meters (Perkins, Pg. 732) 15

16 The Gilibrator (legend) 2 1 2A Nomenclature: 1. Bubble generator assembly 2. Damper plate a. Pulsation damper 2b. O ring 3. Spacer Plate, bubble breaker 5. Cable assembly 6. Sensor block connecting jack 7. Sensor block locking screw Sensor block 9. Base plate assembly 10. Mounting base 11. Charging indicator 12. On-off The Gilibrator (legend) 2 1 2A Nomenclature: 13. Charging jack 14. Control unit Average and Sample # switch 16. Delete switch Reset switch 18. Printer jack LCD display 20. Run indicator Bubble generator ring 22. Bubble initiate button 23. Air inlet boss Flow tube Storage tubing 26. Air outlet boss

17 IV. Calibration of Air Flows Secondary devices are calibrated against primary. Calibration should be done under identical conditions to that of the actual sampling. See diagrams of calibration apparatus. Evaluation of pump errors. Calibrate before, during, and after sampling Diagrams of Calibration Apparatus. Bubble meter Key to diagram - Soap bubble meter - Rotometer - Pump - Pressure gauge (not shown) Pump Rotameter 17

18 Diagrams of Calibration Apparatus. Key to diagram - Electronic soap bubble meter - Rotometer - Pump - Pressure gauge (not shown) Built-in rotometer E. Preview of Lab Experiment I. In this experiment we will use the different air flow measuring instruments and apply them to calibrate each other. - Part 1: Calibration of rotameter using bubble burette. - Part 2: Calibration of sampling pump using rotameter. - Part 3: Evaluating the effects of filters on pump performance. - Part 4: Evaluating the effects of atmospheric pressure on rotameter performance. - Part 5: Comparison of a mass flow meter and rotameter as a function of pressure. - Part 6: Calibration of a rotameter with a (Gilibrator) electronic flow meter. 18

19 Pressure Gauge Layout Bubble - meter Trap Valve Electronic bubble or dry cell Mass flow meter Rotameter Pump Calibration fastest if put all devices in series All devices except bubble meters must be corrected for density Remember that mass flow devices may read out in L/min, but they control mass per time Mass flow meters: Vol/time = MassFlow/density Rotameters: calibrate at density will use (too confusing otherwise) Best to calibrate at altitude will use Density in Sealevel Lab With Resistance 1.0 Lpm Pressure Gauge or 1.10 Bubble - meter Trap Valve Electronic bubble or dry cell Mass flow meter Rotameter * If high resistance at needle-valve, get high SP * Bubble meter reads value at NTP * Air expanded downstream of valve * Electronic bubble meter reads correct expanded value * Rotameter values must be corrected for effects of density * Mass flow meter correct for air entering bubble meter Pump 19

20 Density in Denver With No Resistance 1.0 Lpm Pressure Gauge Lpm 0.88 Bubble - meter Trap Valve Electronic bubble or dry cell Mass flow meter Rotameter Pump * If no resistance at needle-valve, get room pressure * Bubble meter reads value at Denver barometric pressure * Same mass of air expanded compared to Seattle * Electronic bubble meter reads correct value * Mass flow meter and rotameter values must be corrected for effects of density unless flowrates from them calibrated in Denver REFERENCES - PERKINS, CHAPTER 18 - AIR SAMPLING INSTRUMENTS, ACGIH, Chapter 7,

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