Particulate Matter

Particulate matter (also referred as particle pollution) is a mixture of liquid and solid particles suspended in the air. Both inorganic and organic particles including smoke, dust, soot, liquid droplets, pollen produce this mixture.

These particles differ greatly in composition, size, and origin. Some of the large particles are visible to our naked eye whereas, certain particles such as nitrates, copper, cadmium, zinc, nickel, hydrocarbons, sulfates, black carbon are tiny in size and are visible only through an electron microscope. Particulate matter can also contain some harmful microorganisms.

Most of these particles can be filtered with our particulate microfibre glass filter elements

Sizes of Particulate Matter

  • PM10: These particles have a diameter of 10 µm and are inhalable. These bigger particles generally contain dust from industries and roads and earth crust substances.
  • PM2.5: These particles are smaller, wispy and have a diameter of 2.5 µm. These tiny particles contain aerosols that are secondarily formed, recondensed metal & organic vapors and combustion particles.
  • There are particles with a diameter smaller than 0.1 µm and are termed as ultrafine particles. Although their contribution to the entire mass is little, they are most copious. They represent over 90% of the number of particles. They contain mutagenic activity and acidity of particulate matter.

What are the Sources of Particulate Matter?

Several different chemicals combine to become particle matter and they have different shapes and sizes. Some particles are directly emitted, for example, burning of fuel and some particles are indirectly formed due to a chemical reaction in the atmosphere. Fossil fuels such as petrol, coal, and oil can combust to generate coarse particles. Dust from unpaved roads and construction sites can contribute to forming particulate matter. Emission from factories, diesel generators, power stations and automobiles forms particulate matter.

What are the Deleterious Effects of Particulate Matter?

Majority of the constituents of particulate matter are microscopic in nature. These microscopic liquid droplets and solid particles if inhaled cause significant health problems.

  • Particulate exposure can cause watery eyes, running nose, chest tightening and sneezing.
  • It can cause premature death with lung and heart disease.
  • Long-term exposure to particulate matter can cause various respiratory disorders including bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and asthma.
  • The exposure can cause an irregular
  • Particulate matter has a great penetration. If inhaled can cause serious damage to your lungs.
  • It depletes the nutrients present in the soil and also makes the streams and lakes acidic.