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Recent epidemiologic studies show that ultrafine particles (UFPs) may play a definitive role in development of pulmonary and cardiovascular diseases, as well as cancer related mortality. In order to support the growing interest in understanding the effects of UFPs on human health, Dr. Chen has developed a miniaturized electronic ultrafine particle sizing device, or mini-eUPS. This device utilizes many of the functions of equipment currently used in laboratory environments to test and measure UFP levels in aerosols, but has been miniaturized to maximize mobility and ease of use. The small size and weight of the device allow a unique ability for UFP concentration measurements to be taken during flight with a small UAV. Our group completed all the design, fabrication and planning to bring this technology from conceptual prototype to a working model capable of flight and routine use for UFP measurements. During the duration of the project we utilized a 3-D printer to introduce a unique design for a lightweight, aerodynamic casing to house the entire device and its’ control system, designed several UAV’s for comparative data collection, and completed field testing to validate data accuracy and system function. Some testing requirements remain before measurements are within an acceptable accuracy. The use of flight as a method of data collection makes this device a first of its kind, allowing concentrations of UFPs to be collected and eventually predicted in 3 dimensions.

Publication Date



Mechanical and nuclear engineering, Ultrafine Particle (UFP), Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)


Engineering | Mechanical Engineering | Nuclear Engineering

Faculty Advisor/Mentor

Dr. Daren Chen

VCU Capstone Design Expo Posters


© The Author(s)

Date of Submission

August 2016

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle for Vertically Profiling Ultrafine Particle Distribution