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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2020-66
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2020-66
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 11 Mar 2020

Submitted as: research article | 11 Mar 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal AMT.

Application of an O-ring pinch device as a constant pressure inlet (CPI) for airborne sampling

Sergej Molleker1, Frank Helleis1, Thomas Klimach1, Oliver Appel1,2, Hans-Christian Clemen1, Antonis Dragoneas1,2, Christian Gurk1, Andreas Hünig1,2, Franziska Köllner1, Florian Rubach1,3, Christiane Schulz1,3, Johannes Schneider1, and Stephan Borrmann1,2 Sergej Molleker et al.
  • 1Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Mainz, Germany
  • 2Institute for Atmospheric Physics, Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany
  • 3Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research, Leipzig, Germany

Abstract. We present a novel and compact design of a constant pressure inlet (CPI) developed for use in airborne aerosol mass spectrometry. In particular the inlet system is optimized for aerodynamic lenses commonly used in aerosol mass spectrometers, where efficient focusing of aerosol particles into a vacuum chamber requires a precisely controlled lens pressure, typically of a few hPa. The CPI device can also be used in gas phase sampling instruments in a large range of altitude and inlet pressure. The constant pressure is achieved by changing the inner diameter of a properly scaled O-ring that acts as a critical orifice. The CPI control keeps air pressure and thereby mass flow rate (≈ 0.1 l/min) upstream of an aerodynamic lens constant, deviating at most by only ± 2 % from a pre-set value. In our setup a pressure sensor downstream of the O-ring controls the pinch mechanism via a feedback loop and setpoint conditions are reached within seconds. The device was implemented in a few instruments, which were successfully operated on different research aircraft covering a wide range of ambient pressures, from sea level up to about 55 hPa. Details of operation and quality of aerosol particle transmission are evaluated by laboratory experiments and in-flight data with a single particle mass spectrometer.

Sergej Molleker et al.

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Sergej Molleker et al.

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Short summary
A novel design of a constant pressure inlet for use in airborne aerosol particle mass spectrometry, where an aerodynamic lens focuses aerosol particles into a vacuum chamber. The pressure at the lens is precisely controlled at a value of a few hPa in a large range of flight altitude of up to 21 km. The constant pressure is achieved by changing the inner diameter of a properly scaled flexible O-ring that acts as a critical orifice. Particle transmission at various inlet pressure is characterized.
A novel design of a constant pressure inlet for use in airborne aerosol particle mass...
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