Validation of laser diffraction method as a substitute for cascade impaction in the European Project for a Nebulizer Standard

J Aerosol Med. 2001 Spring;14(1):107-14. doi: 10.1089/08942680152007954.


The project for a European standard testing procedure to characterize nebulizers in terms of particle size distribution has been based on using the Andersen-Marple personal cascade impactor model 298 (A-MPCI) with a sodium fluoride reference solution. In the present study methods based on laser diffraction (Mastersizer-X) and time-of-flight (TOF)(APS) and another cascade impactor (GS1-CI) were compared with the A-MPCI. Two types of nebulizer (Pari LC+ and Microneb) were tested with all apparatuses, and a third type of nebulizer (NL9) was tested with the A-MPCI and Mastersizer-X. Nebulizers were charged with a solution of sodium fluoride in conditions reproducing the European Committee for Normalization (CEN) protocol. There was no difference between the Mastersizer-X and the A-MPCI or between the GS1-CI and the A-MPCI in terms of mass median aerodynamic diameter (MMAD). Comparison between the APS and the A-MPCI showed a significant difference with the Microneb. The geometric standard deviations (GSD) obtained with the A-MPCI were on average 10% greater than GSD obtained with the other apparatuses, but the differences were not statistically significant. We conclude that laser diffraction can be used for particle size distribution in the context of the European standard, and that the Mastersizer-X is particularly interesting for industrial practice in view of its simplicity and robustness.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Equipment Design
  • Equipment Safety
  • Europe
  • Guidelines as Topic*
  • Humans
  • Lasers*
  • Nebulizers and Vaporizers / standards*
  • Particle Size