The number concentration and size distribution of ultrafine particles in a Søderberg and a prebake potroom of an aluminium primary smelter have been measured using a scanning mobility particle spectrometer. The particle morphology was studied by transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The study shows the existence of elevated number concentrations of ultrafine particles in both potrooms. The main source of these particles is likely to be the process of anode changing. The ultrafine particles were measured directly at the source but could also be identified as episodes of high number concentrations in the general background air. Unlike the larger particles belonging to the 50-100 nm mode, the nanoparticle mode could not be detected in the TEM indicating that they may not be stable under the applied sampling conditions and/or the high vacuum in the instrument.