Air Sampling

20th December 2016

Air Sampling involves drawing a known volume of air through a filter, entrapping contaminants and measuring the amount of contaminant captured. The results are usually expressed as a concentration, calculated by dividing the volume of air by the amount of contaminant captured. To calculate the volume of air, you multiply the flow rate (usually expressed in Litres Per Minute) by the duration of the sample. For this reason, the air sampler must be carefully calibrated before use to ensure the flow rate is correct. Often, multiple samples are required to provide a better understanding of the environment.

There are many different devices which can be used for air sampling:

  • Area samplers have high flow rates, meaning large volumes of air can be sampled in a short space of time. These are useful for pinpointing the source of contamination and for assessing the effectiveness of control measures.
  • Personal Air Samplers are smaller in size and have a lower flow rate. They are attached to the operator, and a sample is taken during normal working activity (usually over an 8-hour period). The sampling head is located in the worker’s breathing zone to measure how much particulate matter is inhaled.

In some industries, these instruments are a legal requirement in order to detect the concentration of potentially harmful airborne substances within an worker’s breathing area. Substances which are most commonly found are: Aerosols, Dusts, Fumes, Smokes and Mists. All are a danger to health, as small particles can settle on the lining of the lungs, causing respiratory problems.

By conducting air sampling, employers can ensure that their employees are safe from exposure to airborne contaminants. This is especially important in the nuclear, manufacturing, oil & gas and mining industries.

If you would like further information on about any of air sampler products, please get in touch via email ( or by phone (+44 (0) 20 8551 7000).