Physical properties of aerosols produced by several jet- and ultrasonic nebulizers

Bull Eur Physiopathol Respir. 1984 Jan-Feb;20(1):65-72.


In order to estimate the administered dose of inhaled drugs from aqueous aerosols, we have examined the output characteristics of eleven jet- and nine ultrasonic nebulizers. Under various operating conditions we measured driving pressure, airflow, solution- and solute output of the nebulizers, particle concentration and size distribution in the aerosol. The particle size distributions were determined of the dry particles from evaporated droplets of aerosolized 9 mg X ml-1 NaCl solutions by using a mobility aerosols spectrometer. These physical properties of the aerosols were found to vary considerably between nebulizers (even among specimens of the same type). Solution output per litre of air from the ultrasonic devices was 2 to 10 times larger than that from the jets, being dependent on electric power and driving pressure respectively. The jet nebulizers showed the largest particle concentration per litre of air. The volume median aerodynamic diameter of the droplets generated by the jet nebulizers was about 1.5-4 microns. With the exception of the Siemens TV 6000 and the Bosch Halomed, this diameter ranged between 3 and 7 microns among the ultrasonic nebulizers, being dependent on the frequency of the ultrasonic vibrations. The output characteristics appeared also to be affected by extension tubes, air vents, solute concentration and airflow. Solute output varied nonproportionally with solution output, which confirms the comparative merit of output measurements by weighing. The results of the present study can be used to estimate the administered dose of therapeutic or provocative agents by nebulizer equipment. Actual drug output can only be quantified by careful calibration of each separate set-up.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aerosols*
  • Humans
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / administration & dosage
  • Physical Phenomena
  • Physics
  • Respiration Disorders / drug therapy
  • Ultrasonics


  • Aerosols
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations