Computer-automated silica aerosol generator and animal inhalation exposure system
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Computer-automated silica aerosol generator and animal inhalation exposure system

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  • Alternative Title:
    Inhal Toxicol
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    Inhalation exposure systems are necessary tools for determining the dose response relationship of inhaled toxicants under a variety of exposure conditions. The objective of this study was to develop an automated computer controlled system to expose small laboratory animals to precise concentrations of uniformly dispersed airborne silica particles. An acoustical aerosol generator was developed which was capable of re-suspending particles from bulk powder. The aerosolized silica output from the generator was introduced into the throat of a venturi tube. The turbulent high-velocity air stream within the venturi tube increased the dispersion of the re-suspended powder. That aerosol was then used to expose small laboratory animals to constant aerosol concentrations, up to 20 mg/m(3), for durations lasting up to 8 h. Particle distribution and morphology of the silica aerosol delivered to the exposure chamber were characterized to verify that a fully dispersed and respirable aerosol was being produced. The inhalation exposure system utilized a combination of airflow controllers, particle monitors, data acquisition devices and custom software with automatic feedback control to achieve constant and repeatable exposure environments. The automatic control algorithm was capable of maintaining median aerosol concentrations to within ±0.2 mg/m(3) of a user selected target concentration during exposures lasting from 2 to 8 h. The system was able to reach 95% of the desired target value in <10 min during the beginning phase of an exposure. This exposure system provided a highly automated tool for conducting inhalation toxicology studies involving silica particles.
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