Ultrafine Particles in Heavy Vehicle Assembly and Components Manufacturing Plants

Principle investigator: William Heitbrink, Ph.D., CIH
Co-investigator: Thomas Peters, Ph.D.

Abstract.  This work evaluated the particle concentrations in a foundry and an engine plant that are owned and operated by International Truck and Engine Corporation and its subsidiary Indianapolis Casting Corporation. Aerosol maps were constructed with data obtained from real-time, aerosol instruments: optical particle counters and condensation particle counters for number concentration; diffusion chargers for surface area concentration; and aerosol photometers for mass concentration. These instruments allowed us to prepare aerosol maps as a function of particle size [0.01 Ám to 5 Ám], metric [number, surface area, and mass concentration], and season [winter and summer]. The operations floor plan of the plant were overlaid onto these maps to identify the source and fate of particle contamination. Collocated with the real-time instruments, filter-based samplers will be used to measure directly respirable, PM1, and PM2.5 mass concentration. We investigated the relationship among particle number, surface area, and mass concentration. The knowledge generated from this work will allow industrial hygienists at UAW / International to better understand particle contamination in their heavy vehicle machining plants. Moreover, this work will help to identify how to measure particles and where to focus control efforts in vehicle manufacturing plants.

Funding: Union of Auto Workers and International Truck and Engine Corporation


This work resulted in the following publications:

Peters, T. M., W. A. Heitbrink, D. E. Evans, T. J. Slavin, and A. D. Maynard. 2006. The mapping of fine and ultrafine particle concentrations in an engine machining and assembly facility. Ann Occup Hyg 50 (3):249-57.

Heitbrink, W. A., D. E. Evans, T. M. Peters, and T. J. Slavin. 2007. Characterization and mapping of very fine particles in an engine machining and assembly facility. J Occup Environ Hyg 4 (5):341-51.

Heitbrink, W.A., D.E. Evans, B.K. Ku, A. Maynard, T.J. Slavin, and T. M. Peters. submited. The relationship between particle number, surface area, and respirable mass concentration in automotive engine production. J. Occup. and Envir. Hygiene.

Evans, D.E., W.A. Heitbrink, T.J. Slavin, and T. M. Peters. 2008. Ultrafine and respirable particles in an automotive grey iron foundry. Ann Occup Hyg 52 (1):9-21.


The figure below from our 2006 publication provides an example of aerosol mapping in an automotive engine machining and assembly center.