Author ORCID Identifier


Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering

First Advisor

Da-Ren Chen


The differential mobility classifier (DMC) is one of the core components in electrical mobility particle sizers for sizing sub-micrometer particles. Designing the DMC requires knowledge of the geometrical and constructional imperfection (or tolerance). Studying the effects of geometrical imperfection on the performance of the DMC is necessary to provide manufacturing tolerance and it helps to predict the performance of geometrically imperfect classifiers, as well as providing a calibration curve for the DMC. This thesis was accomplished via studying the cylindrical classifier and the parallel plate classifier. The numerical model was built using the most recent versions of COMSOL Multiphysics® and MATLAB®.

For the cylindrical DMC, two major geometrical imperfections were studied: the eccentric annular classifying channel and the tilted inner cylinder/rod. For the parallel-plates DMC, the first study examined for the perfectly designed plates to optimize its dimensions and working conditions, while the second study conducted the plates’ parallelism. For both DMCs, a parametric study was conducted for several tolerances under various geometrical factors (i.e., channel length, width, spacing, cylinders radii, etc…), flow conditions (i.e., sheath-to-aerosol flow ratio, total flow rate), and several particles sizes.

The results show that the transfer function deteriorated as the geometrical imperfection increased (i.e., the peak is reduced and the width at the half peak height is broadened). The parallel- plates DMC results show that the aspect ratio of the classifying channel cross-section (width-to-height) was recommended to be above 8. Particle diffusivity reduces the effect of geometrical imperfection, especially for particle sizes less than 10 nm.


© Thamir Alsharifi

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