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Performance and deployment of low-cost particle sensor units to monitor biomass burning events and their application in an educational initiative


Reisen, F and Cooper, J and Powell, JC and Roulston, C and Wheeler, AJ, Performance and deployment of low-cost particle sensor units to monitor biomass burning events and their application in an educational initiative, Sensors, 21, (21) Article 7206. ISSN 1424-8220 (2021) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://

DOI: doi:10.3390/s21217206


Biomass burning smoke is often a significant source of airborne fine particles in regional areas where air quality monitoring is scarce. Emerging sensor technology provides opportunities to monitor air quality on a much larger geographical scale with much finer spatial resolution. It can also engage communities in the conversation around local pollution sources. The SMoke Observation Gadget (SMOG), a unit with a Plantower dust sensor PMS3003, was designed as part of a school-based Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) project looking at smoke impacts in regional areas of Victoria, Australia. A smoke-specific calibration curve between the SMOG units and a standard regulatory instrument was developed using an hourly data set collected during a peat fire. The calibration curve was applied to the SMOG units during all field-based validation measurements at several locations and during different seasons. The results showed strong associations between individual SMOG units for PM2.5 concentrations (r(2) = 0.93-0.99) and good accuracy (mean absolute error (MAE) < 2 mu g m(-3)). Correlations of the SMOG units to reference instruments also demonstrated strong associations (r(2) = 0.87-95) and good accuracy (MAE of 2.5-3.0 mu g m(-3)). The PM2.5 concentrations tracked by the SMOG units had a similar response time as those measured by collocated reference instruments. Overall, the study has shown that the SMOG units provide relevant information about ambient PM2.5 concentrations in an airshed impacted predominantly by biomass burning, provided that an adequate adjustment factor is applied.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:particulate matter, validation, smoke, sensors, STEM, air quality
Research Division:Engineering
Research Group:Chemical engineering
Research Field:Chemical engineering not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the chemical sciences
UTAS Author:Wheeler, AJ (Dr Amanda Wheeler)
ID Code:152168
Year Published:2021
Web of Science® Times Cited:1
Deposited By:Engineering
Deposited On:2022-08-12
Last Modified:2022-09-05
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