|Publication number||USRE42231 E1|
|Application number||US 11/207,206|
|Publication date||Mar 22, 2011|
|Filing date||Aug 18, 2005|
|Priority date||Dec 14, 2001|
|Also published as||US6779411|
|Publication number||11207206, 207206, US RE42231 E1, US RE42231E1, US-E1-RE42231, USRE42231 E1, USRE42231E1|
|Inventors||Joe C. Spurgeon|
|Original Assignee||Spurgeon Joe C|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (11), Referenced by (1), Classifications (9), Legal Events (2)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
The present invention relates to sampling devices for capturing airborne or liquid-suspended particles. More specifically, the present invention relates to an apparatus adapted to improve the collection efficiency of filtered particles.
There are numerous prior art filter sampling devices available today. For example, as shown in
An additional conventional air sampling device is commercially available under the trade name, Air-O-Cell™. This air sampler includes a two part cassette having a narrowing inlet and an outlet which is also connected to a vacuum source. Between the two parts of the cassette is an approximate slit directing the air flow onto a 2 mm×14 mm. impactor plate having an adhesive on the plate's upper side. In operation, spores, pollen, fibers, etc. enter through the inlet, strike the plate and are adhered to its surface. For analysis, the plate is removed and viewed under a microscope. Unfortunately, some particles carried by lower air flow rates are swept around the plate, causing a loss of sample; whereas particles carried by higher flow rates tend to be disrupted and/or bounced upon impacting the plate, making collection difficult.
Similar to the apparatus described above, European Patent No. 0,129,983 discloses a filter cassette for sampling airborne particles having an inlet, an outlet and a frustoconically shaped filter medium positioned in between.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,437,198 describes a device for separating and capturing airborne particles having a slit nozzle inlet and an internal porous impaction surface. Unimpacted particles follow the air flow past the impaction surface to be either later collected or discharged.
U.S. Pat. No. 4,764,186 describes an adhesive particle impactor for long-term sampling and separating of particles of a pre-determined size. The impactor assembly includes a housing having a plurality of elongate slots to direct heavy dust particles to impact the surface areas of the impactor plate while allowing the loss of some particles around the impactor plate.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,693,895 discloses an airborne particle impaction sampler wherein airborne particles are sucked into a narrowing inlet. An adhesive impactor plate is positioned approximately 1 mm from the inlet, allowing air to circulate around the impactor plate. This positioning is engineered so that particles as small as 2 μm are collected on the impactor plate while smaller particles are permitted to be swept past and eventually discharged.
U.S. Pat. No. 3,518,815 discloses an apparatus for converting a gas phase sample into a liquid phase sample. The device has a round rotating disk and a liquid feeder to provide a continuous liquid film to be maintained on the disk. In addition, a plurality of nozzles are positioned immediately upstream of the rotating collection disk to prevent the air flow from interrupting the integrity of a liquid substrate film maintained on the disk.
U.S. Pat No. 5,304,125 discloses an impactor assembly having a chamber, with an inlet and an outlet, and first and second impactor plates positioned in between. The first impactor plate has the same diameter as the inlet and has at least one slot positioned so as to permit a flow of gas to eventually either: impact the surface of a second impactor plate or be discharged through the outlet. The device is designed to remove large particles from a medicament aerosol prior to a patient's inhalation or application.
U.S. Pat. No. 3,957,469 describes a filter cassette having a removable capsule for measuring ambient airborne dust. An adhesive plate is positioned a distance from the inlet port where it collects airborne particles. Air flow continues to flow around the plate and through a flange that supports a tared capsule. While, dust particles collect on the capsule, the remaining air flow is exhausted through an outlet port. Measurement is taken by carefully weighing the capsule before and after being placed in the cassette, with the difference in weight providing the amount of dust trapped in the filter capsule.
Unfortunately, each of the above described filter sampling devices suffer from one or more disadvantages. Conventional filter samplers shown in
Meanwhile, the “impactor” filter sampling devices provide for much smaller sampling areas. For example, a typical Air-O-Cell™ sampler has an adhesive gel strip having dimensions of 2 mm×14.5 mm, providing a sampling area of 29 mm2. Using the same microscope and applying a 25% analysis rate requires a relatively reasonable analysis of 235 fields of view. Unfortunately, impactor sampling devices permit particles to be swept past the impactor plate, and thus do not provide nearly 100% collection efficiency.
Thus, it would be advantageous to have a filter sampling device that provides for nearly 100% collection efficiency.
Furthermore, it would be advantageous that the filter sampling device provides for a sufficiently small sampling area suitable for efficient microscopic analysis.
It would also be advantageous if the filter sampling device were adaptable to provide for various sampling areas, utilizing a single filtration medium.
In addition, it would be advantageous if the filter sampling device provided for multiple sampling areas, utilizing a single filtration medium.
Thus, there is a need for a filter sampling device that provides solutions for the functional limitations described above. More specifically, the desired filter sampling device should be able to: (1) adaptively modify the area of filtration; (2) effectively tailor the utilized area of a filter medium for viewing on a particular microscope; (3) simultaneously collect replicate or duplicate filter samples; and (4) achieve the foregoing without losing any amount of particle filtration.
An adaptable filter sampling device is provided for localizing the utilized area of a filter medium. The localized area of filtration enables easier microscopic analysis of the filter medium and dramatically reduces the time required to collect and analyze a filtration sample. This adaptable filter sampling device can be applied to gas and liquid phase mediums.
To this end, the adaptable filter sampling device utilizes prior art technology found in filtration cassettes and filter mediums. In particular, the filter sampling device of the present invention includes a filtration cassette having an inlet port, a body portion having an internal cavity, and an outlet port. Positioned within the body portion across the internal cavity is a filtration medium having a predetermined pore size for collecting particles.
In addition, the filter sampling device includes an interchangeable restrictor plate having one or more portals for directing gas or fluid flow to one or more defined areas of the filter medium. The restrictor plate is interchangeable with commercially available cassettes and so may be used to modify other filtration cassettes. Preferably, the restrictor plate is positioned anterior and abutting the filter medium in relation to the particle exposure. This design ensures that essentially 100% of the medium initially sampled, whether gas or liquid, is filtered within a defined localized area of the filter medium. The restrictor plate may be made in various forms to enable its use with commercially available filter mediums and filtration cassettes. In addition, the restrictor plate may be incorporated into the body of the cassette, or the restrictor plate may stand alone as an adjunct to the body.
The restrictor plates may have single or multiple portals. Moreover, the portals may vary in size and shape, or in the case of multiple-portal restrictor plates, may include portals which are identical in shape for replicate and duplicate sampling. Additionally, portals may be specifically tailored to correspond with a particular microscope's focal views.
The filter sampling device of the present invention provides for nearly 100% collection efficiency. Collection efficiency is largely due to the positioning of the restrictor plate so that is abuts the filter medium.
Furthermore, the filter sampling device provides for sufficiently small sampling area to be suitable for efficient microscopic analysis. Reduced sampling area results in proportional increases in sensitivity and correspondingly decreases the time required for sampling.
The filter sampling device is also adaptable enabling one to use a single device providing various sampling areas without sacrificing a wide range of flow rates.
In addition, the filter sampling device provides for multiple sampling areas, for replicate or multiple analysis, while utilizing a single filtration medium.
Other features and advantages of the present invention will be appreciated by those skilled in the art upon reading the detailed description which follows with reference to the attached drawings.
While the present invention is susceptible of embodiment in various forms, as shown in the drawings, hereinafter will be described the presently preferred embodiments of the invention with the understanding that the present disclosure is to be considered as an exemplification of the invention, and it is not intended to limit the invention to the specific embodiments illustrated.
As shown in
Of importance, the adaptable filter sampling device 200 also includes an interchangeable restrictor plate 202 for adapting the conventional filter sampling device. Preferably, the restrictor plate 202 is positioned anterior to and abutting the filter medium 112 and includes one or more portals 204 for directing particulate flow to a defined area of the filter medium. The collection efficiency is significantly enhanced by abutting the filter medium 112 and restrictor plate 202, as opposed to having some distance between collection mechanism and air flow entry, as can be found in the prior art.
The preferred embodiment of the restrictor plate 202 is as an optional fitting which is positioned within a conventional filtration cassette 102, shown in FIG. 1. The restrictor plate 202 is interchangeable with commercially available air filtration cassettes 102, therefore freely modifying standard filtration cassettes 102. As shown in
As shown in
As shown in
With reference to
In one preferred embodiment of the invention, the portal 204 comprises 6% of the total area of the filter medium 112. This arrangement allows a 15-fold increase in sensitivity or a 15-fold reduction in sampling time when compared to the entire area of a filter medium 112.
The restrictor plate 202 supports the filter medium 112 and enables a wide range of acceptable flow rates. Once modified to incorporate a restrictor plate 202, the typical range of air flow rates is from less than one liter to over 15 liters per minute. Like the conventional filter apparatus illustrated in
The size and the diameter of the cassette can reasonably vary. Optimal size of the cassette will largely depend on the types and selection of filter media available for that size cassette. Variations in cassette size can influence the appropriate sized filter medium 112, as well as, restrictor plate 202. Factors for determining an optimal filtration cassette 102 size will be readily determined by one skilled in the art and will not require undue experimentation.
Likewise, the dimensions of the portal 204 and corresponding particle impact area 900 may also vary as can be determined by those skilled in the art. Preferably, the portal's 204 dimensions create a narrow rectangular track, such as 1.6 mm×15 mm, 2 mm×14 mm, 2 mm×10 mm, 2.4 mm×10 mm, or 3 mm×10 mm, which are desirable to permit microscopic analysis performed in one direction and eliminate the need for multidirectional traverses. However, other dimensions and areas may be more desirable depending on the target particulate and the method of analysis. While the dimensions of the portal 204 in the plate may vary, a preferred embodiment is a portal 204 large enough to avoid destructive back pressure upon the filter medium 112, while remaining small enough to facilitate microscopic analysis.
Analysis of the filter medium 112 may vary. For example, following collection of the sample, the entire adaptable filter sampling device 200, or the filter medium 112 alone, may be sealed and shipped to a laboratory for analysis. Laboratory personnel can divide the filter using a surgical scalpel and utilize portions of the localized area of impact 900 for different purposes, such as microscopic analysis, chemical analysis, or culturing.
While certain materials, dimensions and arrangements have been described in detail as part of the preferred embodiments, those can be varied, where suitable, with similar results. For example, materials of the filtration cassette's 102 construction may be plastic, metal, or ceramic. Similarly, the restrictor plate 202 may be constructed of any gas and fluid impermeable material such as, but not limited to, plastic, metal, or ceramic. The filter medium 112 may be comprised of any number of suitable filtering materials. The following materials are provided as examples: mixed cellulose ester, polycarbonate, or glass filter.
The adaptable filter sampling device 200 is highly suitable for collecting most environmental contaminants that are typically collected on filter media. Asbestos and other types of fibers; lead-based paint particulate; heavy metals; bacteria; pollen; and fungi are examples of target particulate. As would be understood and can be determined by those skilled in the art without undo experimentation, other applications and target particulates are intended to be included within the embodiment of this invention.
Although the present invention has been described with reference to the preferred embodiments, workers skilled in the art will recognize that changes may be made in form and detail without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Having identified the present preferred embodiments thereof.
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|Citing Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US9157838||Dec 6, 2011||Oct 13, 2015||Emd Millipore Corporation||Chromatography apparatus and method|
|International Classification||G01N1/00, G01N1/22, G01N15/02|
|Cooperative Classification||G01N15/0272, G01N2001/2223, G01N1/2205|
|European Classification||G01N15/02F, G01N1/22B1|
|Apr 9, 2012||REMI||Maintenance fee reminder mailed|
|Aug 26, 2012||LAPS||Lapse for failure to pay maintenance fees|