Question: How big are smoke particles, in microns?

warren asked on August 30, 2017 21:00
974 | 4 answers | #14803

On the NASA AREN project call this week, there was a question from Kelly in Montana, about whether it's possible to look at smoke particles with a microscope. With the work we're compiling on #microscopes and #particulates ( #pm ) pollution, I wanted to ask if folks know how big smoke particles are. We're hoping to have DIY microscopes (with cameras attached) to image particles below 10 microns in size, and even down to 1 micron resolution if that's possible.

How big are smoke particles?


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4 Answers

Geoff from NASA Goddard found a good resource here:

Apparently under 1 micron! Very small.

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Smoke particles (and by smoke I mean combustion products) come in sizes all the way down to 1nm (0.001micron) and in shapes that make it very tricky to define their size! If you search for "microscope image smoke" you'll find lots of images showing what they look like. Here is a very short but informative text about aerosols In general, if you capture particles on a filter you'll see particles even as large as 100 micron and small as 0.001 micron so you'll see something in a microscope.

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Second hit on the question "How small are respirable particles?" Not specific to smoke, but useful context:

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