UNH Researcher Develops Innovative Way to Measure Tiny Particles

UNH Researcher Develops Innovative Way to Measure Tiny Particles

Aug 22, 2017
Image of an ash particle from the Mount St. Helens volcanic eruption of 1980 collected almost 400 miles away in Montana. The particle's shape and size provides important information on how clouds of volcanic ash travel, but due to the complexity of reconstruction, imaging alone cannot capture the entire particle. (Ash sample courtesy of Adam Durant, University of Oslo; image captured by Mark Townley, UNH University Instrumentation Center.)

New UNH research inspired by the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens will help scientists measure, and thus predict the movement of, tiny particles such as ash from volcanic eruptions.

“Tiny volcanic ash particles enter the atmosphere and can be transported long distances causing all kinds of problems, from becoming an aviation hazard to affecting respiratory health for both humans and animals,” says Gopala Mulukutla, a research scientist in the Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space at UNH. He is the lead author of a study, recently published in the journal Measurement Science and Technology, that describes an inventive techni mathematic technique to estimate the extent of an object that is captured in 3-D models, and to use the information to more accurately measure the entire object.

Part of a provisional patent filed by UNHInnovation, the technique has other practical applications, such as in developing models that simulate how sediment moves through rivers and streams or assessing the shape and properties of elongated blood droplets used in innovative blood tests.

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