Application note

Air Flow Controller for indoor air analysis device

Our Bronkhorst office in France supported a customer with air flow controllers which played a crucial role in their mobile pollutant analysers used for on-site monitoring of air quality. The air analysers are used for detection of small amounts of benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene – BTEX analysis – and volatile organic compounds analysis - VOC analysis - in indoor air.

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Indoor air analysis with flow controllers

Application requirements

As the air analysers are mobile and compact devices, the mass flow controllers and pressure controllers to which they rely on also have to be compact. Furthermore, they have to accurately control flows of air that contain volatile compounds in the ppb range (from 1 to 400 ppb). Besides the analysers are mobile and accurate devices, the have to perform their duty continuously, in nearly real-time.

Important topics

  • High accuracy air flow controllers for low pressure difference applications
  • Compact solution
  • Indoor air quality
  • Reproducibility

Process solution

The air quality measurement method consists of a gas-into-liquid take up step in a microfluidic cell combined with a chemical reaction, followed by a detection step using spectroscopy of fluorescence. Here the Bronkhorst chip-sensor based mass flow controllers for gases (series IQ+FLOW) - play a key role. Especially in the customer's equipment for volatile organic compounds (VOC) analysis, the low differential pressure version of this mass flow controller is used.

The compact IQ+FLOW air flow controllers allow for the accurate handling of very small gas flows, so that very small quantities of liquid reagents in the microfluidic cell will be necessary, saving on chemicals' consumption allowing low running cost. These small (gas and liquid) mass flows also facilitate the short response time of the analysers, which could be down to the second range. All these features are eminent for compact devices.

Air flow controllers for BTEX analysis
Flow scheme

As the French government recommends a threshold for formaldehyde concentrations in the indoor air of public buildings, accurate and continuous measuring methods are required. The accuracy, sensitivity and reproducibility of the Bronkhorst IQ+FLOW devices participate in meeting these demands.

The customer is really satisfied with the quality of the Bronkhorst products. In addition to the products themselves, the good support is also emphasised.

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Air flow controllers for air analysis
Flow scheme, option 2
Air flow controllers for BTEX analysis
Flow schema, option 3

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