Real-time monitoring of airborne crystalline silica

Project: Other

Project Details


This project is the result of a successful feasibility project, part funded by Innovate UK, into a novel detection mechanism for atmospheric Respirable Crystalline Silica (RCS). RCS is a major health and safety issue in a number of industries but it is one where the existing technology to monitor the exposure of workers to this hazard remains very crude. Dust containing RCS is well established as a serious health hazard, causing silicosis and a variety of other life threatening conditions. Current methods of monitoring the amount of RCS in the atmosphere rely on its collection through a filter over a period of time followed by laboratory analysis taking up to two weeks, by which time any damage has already been done. The objective of this project is to develop a pre-production prototype of a novel monitoring instrument that is capable of measuring the concentration of RCS in the atmosphere on a continuous, real-time, basis. Such a sensor would be based on a method of identifying the particular physical characteristics of Crystalline Silica particles using a combination of innovative optical processes. The ability to provide continuous monitoring of RCS mass concentration levels, with the option of setting alarm levels, would provide a major step change improvement in protecting the health and safety of workers in a variety of industries such as mining, tunnelling, cement products, foundries etc.
Effective start/end date1/01/1830/04/19


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