Airborne particulate matter in the silicon carbide (SiC) industry is a known health hazard. The aims of this study were to elucidate whether the particulate matter generated inside the Acheson furnace during active operation is representative of the overall particulate matter in the furnace hall, and whether the Acheson furnaces are the main sources of ultrafine particles (UFP) in primary SiC production. The number concentration of ultrafine particles was evaluated using an Electrical Low Pressure Impactor (ELPITM
, Dekati Ltd., Tampere, Finland), a Fast Mobility Particle Sizer (FMPSTM
, TSI, Shoreview, MN, USA) and a Condensation Particle Counter (CPC, TSI, Shoreview, MN, USA). The results are discussed in terms of particle number concentration, particle size distribution and are also characterized by means of electron microscopy (TEM/SEM). Two locations were investigated; the industrial Acheson process furnace hall and a pilot furnace hall; both of which represent an active operating furnace. The geometric mean of the particle number concentration in the Acheson process furnace hall was 7.7 × 104
for the UFP fraction and 1.0 × 105
for the submicrometre fraction. Particulate matter collected at the two sites was analysed by electron microscopy. The PM from the Acheson process furnace hall is dominated by carbonaceous particles while the samples collected near the pilot furnace are primarily rich in silicon.
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