Measuring Fine, Ultrafine, & Nanoparticle Emissions from Engines
Office of Automotive Engineering



Contact Information

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Contact us:
ae-contact@swri.org

image of a technician gathering test data to measure fine, ultrafine, and nanoparticle emissions from engines at SwRI

A technician gathers data to measure fine, ultrafine, and nanoparticle emissions from engines.


image of aerosol generation for dilution tunnel calibration using Colison atomizer and scanning mobility particle sizer (SMPS)

Aerosol generation for dilution tunnel calibration using Colison atomizer and scanning mobility particle sizer (SMPS).


image of solid particle measurement system (catalytic stripper for particle number, size, and mass measurements)

Solid particle measurement system (catalytic stripper for particle number, size, and mass measurements).


image of chart showing particle size distribution emitted from a light-duty diesel pickup truck at idle and 50 mph

Particle size distribution emitted from a light-duty diesel pickup truck at idle and 50 mph.

Measuring fine, ultrafine, and nanoparticle emissions from engines is an ongoing function at Southwest Research Institute (SwRI). SwRI is a pioneer in automotive emission research and assists industry and government in developing and evaluating technologies to meet present and future standards.

SwRI's team of experts in particulate emission measurement and dilution system design offers clients a broad range of capabilities for understanding and measuring exhaust particulate mass, number, and size distributions in ranges of:

  • Fine particles, < 2,500 nm (2.5 µm)
  • Ultrafine particles, < 100 nm (0.1 µm)
  • Nanoparticles, < 50 nm (0.05 µm)

Exhaust Particle Emission Measurement

Engineers routinely conduct detailed assessments of total particulate emission and characterize particle size and number from:

  • Diesel engines
  • Traditional gasoline engines
  • Gasoline direct injection (GDI) engines
  • Natural gas engines

Particle Measurement Instruments

In addition to filter-based measurement of total particulate mass emissions that conforms to current ISO and current and 2007 EPA particulate sampling protocols, SwRI operates a suite of particle measurement instruments to cover a wide range of particle diameters from 7 to 10,000 nm. A listing of particle measurement instruments is given below.

Additional Instruments Available at SwRI

Other state-of-the-art particle instruments for evaluation at SwRI include the QCM, EEPS, and DMM-230 shown below:

These special purpose instruments are used with well-characterized engine exhaust dilution systems:

  • Full-flow dilution (current and 2007 PM sampling protocols)
  • Mini dilution
  • Micro dilution

Engine and Particle Emission Research

SwRI maintains facilities to generate meaningful information about particulate emission mass, number, and size distribution of engine exhaust particulate to study the influence of:

  • Combustion chamber design strategies
  • Fuel systems
  • Exhaust gas recirculation (EGR)
  • Blowby
  • Aftertreatment devices
  • Oil types
  • Fuel types
  • Fuel additives
  • Cold start

Other Particle Analyses Available at SwRI

The level of analysis for particle sizes ranging from 7 to 10,000 nm includes:

  • Transmission electron microscopy
  • Scanning electron microscopy
  • Energy dispersion spectroscopy
  • Vacuum oven sublimation
  • Direct injection gas chromatography
  • Soxhlet extraction
  • Sulfate
  • Nitrate
  • Metals

Other Fine, Ultrafine, and Nanoparticle Research Activities

  • Fuel and oil droplet generation
  • Physical impurity analysis
  • Critical literature reviews
  • Theoretical particle loss analysis
  • Dilution system design and fabrication
  • Particle instrument evaluation and calibration
  • Dilution systems evaluation and calibration
  • Development of procedures and protocols for particle measurement
  • Quality assurance/quality control
  • Consulting services
image of chart showing comparison between GDI and direct-injection (DI) diesel engines

Comparison between GDI and direct-injection (DI) diesel engines

Related Terminology

ultrafine emissions  •  fine particles  •  nanoparticle emissions  •  emission measurement  •  particulate emission  •  diesel engines  •  gasoline engines  •  natural gas engines  •  ISO standards  •  EPA standards

Benefiting government, industry and the public through innovative science and technology
Southwest Research Institute® (SwRI®), headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, is a multidisciplinary, independent, nonprofit, applied engineering and physical sciences research and development organization with 10 technical divisions.
05/14/14