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Visualisation and identification of peak exposure events in aluminium smelter pot rooms using hydrogen fluoride and aerosol real-time portable spectrometers

A recently developed novel portable real-time hydrogen fluoride spectrometer was used with an aerosol PM10 spectrometer under a PIMEX telemetric measurement strategy to visualize and identify simultaneous occupational air peak exposure events to hydrogen fluoride and PM10 aerosol sub-fractions in aluminium smelter pot rooms using Søderberg or Prebake anode technologies. The hydrogen fluoride and the aerosol concentration data measured during different work operations are plotted and evaluated applying the synchronised videos and air concentrations measured by the spectrometers. The main point-emission sources of HF and PM10 were identified and assessed. The major finding in the study was that the main source of PM10 and HF was partly open cells in a Søderberg pot room, whereas in a Prebake pot room, the point emissions of the two contaminants were associated with hot bath residues and hot replaced anodes. In order to prevent the simultaneous exposure to HF and PM10 among pot room workers it is important to prevent workers from being close to these point-sources under unfavourable ventilation. Storage of hot residues outside electrolytic cells without any point source ventilation should not occur.

Skaugset, Nils Petter; Berlinger, Balazs; Radziuk, Bernhard; Tørring, Håvard; Thomassen, Yngvar
Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts 16(5): 1035–1040
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