Dynamic vapor generator that simulates transient odor emissions of victims entrapped in the voids of collapsed buildings
AuthorStatheropoulos, Miltiades K.
Pallis, George C.
Pappa, Athina A.
Thomas, Charles Lawrence Paul
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The design, development, and validation of a dynamic vapor generator are presented. The generator simulates human scent (odor) emissions from trapped victims in the voids of collapsed buildings. The validation of the device was carried out using a reference detector: a quadrupole mass spectrometer equipped with a pulsed sampling (PS-MS) system. A series of experiments were conducted for evaluating the simulator's performance, defining types and weights of different factors, and proposing further optimization of the device. The developed device enabled the production of stable and transient odor profiles in a controllable and reproducible way (relative standard deviation, RSD < 11%) at ppbv to low ppmv concentrations and allowed emission durations up to 30 min. Moreover, the factors affecting its optimum performance (i.e., evaporation chamber temperature, air flow rate through the mixing chamber, air flow rate through the evaporation chamber, and type of compound) were evaluated through an analysis of variance (ANOVA) tool revealing the next steps toward optimizing the generator. The developed simulator, potentially, can also serve the need for calibrating and evaluating the performance of analytical devices (e.g., gas chromatographers, ion mobility spectrometers, mass spectrometers, sensors, e-noses) in the field. Furthermore, it can contribute in better training of urban search and rescue (USaR) canines. © 2014 American Chemical Society.