Air particle test slide results

  • Kenneth Brown

I volunteer teach 5th grade science and would like a protocol for monitoring the quality of air. How would it be done with fold scope? count particles? measure size? range of particle sizes? numbers with respect to time?

A link that I can’t find again suggests a simple way of detecting 2-micron to 40-micron particles on a slide.  Simply, coat the view area with white petroleum 100% ASP. The sample area of the glass slide was thinly coated with Vasoline and it seemed to work.

First Test Results:

[caption id=”attachment_78330″ align=”alignright” width=”300″] test Air particles[/caption]

This slide was placed outside about 4 meters from my back porch taped to a brick with three other slides. After taking it inside on after four days, it was stained with RitAid antiseptic solution (provide-iodine 10%) and covered with scotch tape.

There are two dark particles near the 1:30 edge of the image.At 3:00 nearer the center is a large white-black particle. Also, over 12 grey particles appear randomly on the slide.


[caption id=”attachment_78331″ align=”alignright” width=”305″] test air particle slide[/caption]





test air particle slide




above and to the right are vasaline preped slides exposed outside for several days. After taken inside the preped area was taped. The upper left one  has several particles with sizes less than 10 microns in diameter. The right-hand one may have too much vasoline on it.

Next, less vasoline will be spread with lens paper. instead of tape, plastic cover slips will be tried. Other harmless non-toxic stains will be tried.

Inner-city students will be given  foldscopes to have fun with, however they will be asked to collect samples of air particles every week for one year and send images to me. They will be given RitAid antiseptic solution (provide-iodine 10%), plastic slides and covers.

They will be asked to explore other environmental changes helpful to everyone.  As Confucius said, “Between the four oceans we are all brothers and sisters”.

Please comment on the tests, on the preping and covers and stains. If there is a way to identify particles please send links  to kenglobeatyahoodotcom. I will be grateful for additions, corrections, comments, and suggestions. It may be easier to use the form…

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