Abstract

Spectroscopy measurements made through a continuum having suspended particulate matter are addressed. The applications presented permit correction of spectral transmissions as effected by particulate-producing fossil-fuel combustion. The research is especially applicable to large effluent flows from coal-fired power plants, whose effluents are studied with in situ (smokestack) radiometers. Methods involving fast calculation procedures based on measured irradiances in unabsorbed regions of the IR spectrum are presented. The methodology is based on wavelength-dependent extinction of radiation by small particles, considering both elastic scattering and absorbing effects. This extinction leads to an observed skeweness (or shift) of the blackbody spectral shape. Based on such skeweness, the particulate number distribution is determined with Mie theory. In order to simplify, and to speed up the routine for real-time application, a two-step procedure is presented. During preinstallation calibration with Mie theory, sets of integral tables are computed for all possible solution values and stored in computer memory. Based on instantaneous spectral measurements, the appropriate integral tables are retrieved, then used as inputs in a process leading to particulate number distribution. Because all time-consuming calculations associated with Mie theory are performed during preinstallation calibration, the technique is capable of monitoring particulate emission in real time. Furthermore, given resolution of the number distribution in combination with thermodynamic analysis of the system, determination of particulate apparent density and particulate mass flow rate is made. These values have importance for environmental reporting. Comparisons of calculated particulate distributions with in situ measurements are also presented. Confirmatory testing programs conducted at several power plants are discussed.

© 1996 Optical Society of America

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