Principal Investigator: Howard Carter, Jr.

Location: Miami, FL


Our experiment ‘Atmospheric Particulate Effect’ addresses environmental concerns of how atmospheric particulate density affects the environment and techniques by which to measure these particulates.


When it comes to predicting climate change, researchers need to take into account the effects of particles in the air. That’s the message presented by University of Iowa researcher Vicki Grassian Feb. 17 at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. While the role of greenhouse gases is important, attention should also be given to the role of atmospheric aerosols and interfacial chemistry of aerosols on climate, says Grassian, F. Wendell Miller Professor of Chemistry and director of the Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Institute at the University of Iowa. The ways in which atmospheric particles, such as mineral dust, affect climate are important and poorly understood. These processes include heterogeneous chemical interactions with trace atmospheric gases, the ability of particles to help form clouds, and the optical properties of dust itself all contributing to radiative forcing – the net difference between incoming and outgoing radiation, says Grassian. (Galluzzo, Garry, 03/19/2012 Iowa Now, Particulate matter and climate change. Greenhouse gases aren’t the only factors to consider when making predictions.)


We will develop of a system to measuring atmospheric particulate, sizing, count and or content as it relates to various physical parameters i.e. altitude and temperature. We will utilize the external airstream from the inlet tube of the craft to gather air samples that will be analyze. Prior research has led to consider using a device developed by Shinyei Technology ( This the Particle Sensor Unit with some modifications, will allow us to gather atmospheric particulate data needed. With controlled air flow rate the unit’s output pulse width will give us particulate sizing while it’s number of pulses over a set period will give us the particulate count per unit volume of the air stream.


This system will measure high and low altitude particles during the crafts flight path whose data point will be analyzed using MS Excel. Implicit environmental conclusions may be inferred from the data analysis. Throughout this project students will apply STEM skills.