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Analysis of human exposure at local exhaust ventilation by means of 3D air velocity measurements, tracer gas tests and controlled turbulence environment
University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Local exhaust (LE) ventilation is a ventilation technique where contaminated air is locally extracted close to the contaminant source usually with the purpose to reduce the exposure of workers to dust, fumes or vapour, which can be hazardous to their health. The performance of a LE installation depends however on many influential factors, and there is not yet an international standardized way to test LE constructions. The present study is the natural continuation of some previous studies at the University of Gävle that aimed at contributing to the establishment of such tests.

The study entails full scale experimental measurements that include 3-D air velocity measurements and tracer gas tests in a controlled air turbulence environment generated through physical movements of a vertical, human-sized cylinder. These measurements were focused on human exposure, which was analysed by means of a seated human simulator for different configurations in which the exhaust flow rate, turbulence level, the exhaust hood arrangement and the measuring/injecting distance varied.

The use of a sonic 3-D anemometer, that yielded both magnitude and direction of the air movement, proved very useful in analysing the generated air turbulence. As a measure of the LE performance, PNV value (Percentage of Negative Velocities) was used. This measure represents the percentage of time when the air flow at the measuring point in front of the exhaust hood is directed away from the nozzle, i.e. when the velocity component in the direction towards the exhaust hood opening is negative. Regarding the results obtained, in an otherwise undisturbed environment, measurement data showed that the natural convection from the human simulator sitting in front of the LE introduces some disturbances of the air flow in the suction region, proportional to the exhaust flow rate. However, when additional turbulence was generated through the controlled movements of the human-sized cylinder, thus creating a controlled turbulence setting, natural human convection leaded to a lower percentage of negative velocities (PNV) in comparison with the case in which human simulator was not present, especially for low exhaust air flow rates and when the exhaust hood was raised from the table.

The tracer gas tests implied injection of a neutrally buoyant tracer gas through a perforated sphere placed in front of the exhaust hood. The amount of tracer gas that escaped from the suction flow was measured both in the room air and in the breathing zone. The first measurements yielded a sensitive method for measuring the capture efficiency (CE) of the exhaust hood. The CE is the percentage of injected tracer gas that is directly captured by the exhaust hood. This parameter showed that although the  convection flow generated by the human simulator leads to low PNV values, it seems that the tracer gas is not actually being captured, but trapped in that convection flow. As a consequence, PNV and CE get a strong correlation, which is even more intense when injection and capture point are closer together. Hence, PNV represents a good alternative to tracer gas measurements only if the relationship between the correlation of PNV and CE with respect to the distance from the injection to the capture point is known. Finally, measurements of tracer gas in the breathing zone showed random, short and high exposures when turbulence was generated and those exposures got worse by natural human convection.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 63 p.
Keyword [en]
local exhaust ventilation, human exposure
National Category
Energy Systems
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-19713OAI: diva2:822551
Subject / course
Energy systems
Educational program
Energy systems – master’s programme (one year) (swe or eng)
2015-06-15, 11:320, Högskolan i Gävle, Gävle, 10:00 (English)
Available from: 2015-06-17 Created: 2015-06-16 Last updated: 2015-06-17Bibliographically approved

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