Aerosol sampling system for collection of Capstone depleted uranium particles in a high-energy environment

Health Phys. 2009 Mar;96(3):221-37. doi: 10.1097/01.HP.0000290610.53663.57.


The Capstone Depleted Uranium (DU) Aerosol Study was undertaken to obtain aerosol samples resulting from a large-caliber DU penetrator striking an Abrams or Bradley test vehicle. The sampling strategy was designed to (1) optimize the performance of the samplers and maintain their integrity in the extreme environment created during perforation of an armored vehicle by a DU penetrator, (2) collect aerosols as a function of time post perforation, and (3) obtain size-classified samples for analysis of chemical composition, particle morphology, and solubility in lung fluid. This paper describes the experimental setup and sampling methodologies used to achieve these objectives. Custom-designed arrays of sampling heads were secured to the inside of the target in locations approximating the breathing zones of the crew locations in the test vehicles. Each array was designed to support nine filter cassettes and nine cascade impactors mounted with quick-disconnect fittings. Shielding and sampler placement strategies were used to minimize sampler loss caused by the penetrator impact and the resulting fragments of eroded penetrator and perforated armor. A cyclone train was used to collect larger quantities of DU aerosol for measurement of chemical composition and solubility. A moving filter sample was used to obtain semicontinuous samples for DU concentration determination. Control for the air samplers was provided by five remotely located valve control and pressure monitoring units located inside and around the test vehicle. These units were connected to a computer interface chassis and controlled using a customized LabVIEW engineering computer control program. The aerosol sampling arrays and control systems for the Capstone study provided the needed aerosol samples for physicochemical analysis, and the resultant data were used for risk assessment of exposure to DU aerosol.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aerosols / isolation & purification*
  • Air Pollutants, Radioactive / isolation & purification*
  • Body Burden
  • Computer Simulation
  • Equipment Design
  • Equipment Failure Analysis
  • Firearms*
  • Gulf War*
  • Humans
  • Military Personnel
  • Models, Biological
  • Motor Vehicles
  • New Mexico
  • Occupational Exposure / analysis*
  • Radiation Monitoring / instrumentation*
  • Radiation Monitoring / methods
  • Radioactive Waste / analysis
  • Relative Biological Effectiveness
  • Risk Assessment / methods
  • Risk Factors
  • Specimen Handling / instrumentation*
  • Specimen Handling / methods
  • Uranium / analysis*


  • Aerosols
  • Air Pollutants, Radioactive
  • Radioactive Waste
  • Uranium