United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Investigation of High-Efficiency Particulate Air Filter Plugging by Combustion Aerosols (NUREG/CR-4264, LA-10436-MS)

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Publication Information

Manuscript Completed: April 1985
Date Published: May 1985

Prepared by:
D.L. Fenton, M.V. Gunaji
Mechanical Engineering Department
New Mexico State University
Las Cruces, NM 88003

W.S. Gregory, R.A. Martin
Los Alamos National Laboratory
Los Alamos, New Mexico 87545

Prepared for:
Division of Risk Analysis
Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, DC 20555-0001

NRC FIN A-7029

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Abstract

Experiments were conducted to investigate high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter plugging by combustion aerosols. These tests were done to obtain empirical data to improve our modeling of filter plugging phenomena using the Los Alamos National Laboratory fire accident analysis code FIRAC. Commercially available 0.61-m by 0.61-m square filters were tested in a specially designed facility to determine how airflow resistance varies with increased filter loading by combustion aerosols. Two organic fuels normally found in nuclear fuel cycle facilities, polystyrene (PS) and polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA), were burned under varied conditions to generate combustion aerosols. The test facility included a combustor, a 23-m-long duct, and a specially designed gravimetric balance for determining the aerosol mass gain of the filters.

Test results include correlations of HEPA filter resistance ratios (actual resistance/initial resistance) with aerosol mass gain. The mass gain of plugged HEPA filters was found to correlate with the airborne mass concentration of material in the size range greater than approximately 2.0 µm. Also, the fuel with a smaller soot fraction, PMMA, produced filter plugging at lower accumulated aerosol mass deposits on or within the filter.

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