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Student project: Collection Device for Bacteria in Air

For collecting aerosols, a new model of a high-volume-flow impinger is needed. The envisioned new model is to be used in health and environmental science for sampling airborne particles into an aqueous liquid, by filtering the airstream through a vortex chamber filled with water. Through a sophisticated continuous mixing process the airborne particles, e.g. bacteria contained in the air, are being stripped into the liquid. In the transition from air to water, the particles are concentrated by several orders of magnitude and preserved for later analysis. A prototype exists and has been tested with good results from a small aircraft (Zweifel et al 2012). The new model will incorporate improvements in terms of usability and accuracy of the device. It will be produced from an autoclavable material to ensure sterile sampling conditions. It will include a sealed lid and connection ports for cleaning and sample exchange. It will also be optimized for minimized airflow resistance, minimized loss of water and maximized retention of particles in the water.

The project is intended for one or several engineering design students. It will involve choice of materials, building of a model, flow simulation, design optimization, and manufacture of a working prototype. The work will be done in close collaboration between design engineers, aerosol scientists and microbiologists at Lund University and Aarhus University (Roskilde). The final product will be tested by real application. We envision that the new model eventually will be produced in different scales, in order to adapt it to applications like drone-based air sampling, air monitoring in public locations or identification of infectious agents in hospitals.

Zweifel, Ulla Li, Åke Hagström, Karin Holmfeldt, Runar Thyrhaug, Camilla Geels, Lise Marie Frohn, Carsten A. Skjøth, Ulrich Gosewinkel Karlson. 2012. High bacterial 16S rRNA gene diversity above the atmospheric boundary layer. Aerobiologia 28 (4): 481-498. DOI: 10.1007/s10453-012-9250-6

For more informations contact: Ulrich Bay Gosewinkel, ulrich.gosewinkel@envs.au.dk, and/or check: www.product.lth.se/education/master-thesis/available-projects/