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What are the different types of particulate matter?


Particulate matter is characterized based on the size of the particles:

  • PM10: particles with an aerodynamic diameter of less than 10 micrometer. PM is the abbreviation for particulate matter;
  • PM2,5: particles with an aerodynamic diameter of less than 2.5 microns;
  • PM0.1: particles smaller than 0.1 micrometer (ultra fine dust).

In addition, a distinction is made between primary and secondary particles:

  • Primary particulate matter results from combustion, friction, or evaporation. Examples include the combustion of fossil fuels (petroleum, natural gas, coal and wood) and grinding of substances in the industry (such as compound feed, metal or chemical companies). Particulate matter is not only created by human activities; it can also occur naturally by blowing of the wind (which shreds particles of buildings or rocks) and the evaporation of sea water drops.
  • Secondary particulate matter occurs when molecules of acidifying substances such as nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulfur dioxide, (SO2), ammonia (NH3), volatile organic compounds and ozone (O3) react to form solid particles. They can also attach to primary particles.

Source: Wikipedia | Image: Pixabay

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