This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Improvement of Indoor Air Quality Through The Development of Polymeric Microfibrous Material




Luna, Eric

Type of Degree



Chemical Engineering


It was desired to create a healthier and more comfortable living environment for persons whom spend an increasingly amount of time indoors. Two main goals are necessary for the accomplishments of this objective: develop a base composite material using polymeric fibers and activated carbon; and analyze new and emerging standards for Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) to produce a robust and efficient Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) filter. The development of a polymeric composite material was based on current research using metal fibers in a sinter-locked network to entrap small sorbent particles. This composite, known as Microfibrous Materials, has been traditionally used as a substrate for catalysis and adsorption applications. This work builds upon the knowledge obtained in the area of adsorption. For one-time use applications it is necessary to move from a high value, metal medium to a more cost-effective, polymer medium. Standards for chemical contaminant levels with regards to IAQ do not currently exist for residential and automotive environments. The removal of Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOC) and Toxic Industrial Chemicals (TIC) via an HVAC filter is not currently addressed. Such chemical contaminants (all present in non-industrial or residential environments) have a negative impact on human health. The level of contamination in residential environments has been found to be at unacceptable levels resulting in detrimental health effects due to prolonged exposure. Novel and emerging filtration technologies are being developed to perform particulate and chemical contaminant filtration. These technologies were evaluated, with respect to the performance of Microfibrous Materials, to determine the most efficient HVAC filtration medium. The different media was evaluated according to their basis weight deviation, pressure drop, and single pass contacting efficiency. A commercial HVAC filter must adhere to several standards. The novel media were subjected to flammability testing based upon ANSI/UL-900. This testing, along with empirical reaction modeling based upon the Shrinking Core Model, determined the best filter media for the next generation HVAC filter.