Black Carbon Particle Calibration Facility
Office of Automotive Engineering

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image of soot agglomerates of combustion generated particles

Soot agglomerates of combustion generated particles

image of particle generation system with the catalytic stripper technology

Particle generation system with the catalytic stripper technology

A particle calibration facility has been launched by Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) that uses dry soot particles produced by a propane flame based on the miniCAST technology coupled with an SwRI-patented catalytic stripper.


The capabilities of this calibration facility include:

  • Particle mass concentrations ranging from 5 μg/m³ to 80 mg/m³, with less than 5% coefficient of variation
  • Particle number concentrations ranging from 10 part./cm³ to 5 x 107 part./cm³, with less than 5% coefficient of variation
  • Particle size distributions with geometric number mean diameters ranging from 15 nm to 120 nm
  • Flow rates up to 50 standard liters per minute


This facility is supported with state-of-the-art instrumentation such as:

  • TSI's scanning mobility particle sizer
  • TSI's engine exhaust particle sizer
  • TSI electrometer
  • TSI condensation particle counters
  • AvL Technologies™ micro-soot sensor
  • Sunset Laboratory semi-continuous organic carbon/elemental carbon, with traceable elemental carbon capability


This facility is suitable for:

  • Calibration and verification of solid particle measurement systems in compliance with Euro 5, 6 and Euro VI regulations
  • Particle instrument and dilution systems calibrations and performance checks
  • Research and development on small-scale particle filters (filters can be evaluated at temperatures ranging from 25°C to 400°C)
  • Particle inhalation studies
  • Fundamental research on the affect of black carbon on global warming

Related Terminology

black carbon  •  particle calibration  •  soot particles  •  miniCAST  •  TSI  •  particle filters  •  global warming  •  particle inhalation studies

Benefiting government, industry and the public through innovative science and technology
Southwest Research Institute® (SwRI®), headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, is a multidisciplinary, independent, nonprofit, applied engineering and physical sciences research and development organization with 9 technical divisions.