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Which Brand of Air Filter Strains Particles Best?

Researched by Arielle C.  


The purpose of this experiment was to find out which brand of furnace filter was most effective at straining particles from the air.

I became interested in this idea when a family member got sick during a smoky and dusty period last summer. I wondered about which brand of air filter would work most efficiently. 

The information gained from this experiment would help consumers to figure out which brand of air filters to buy for the best performance.



My hypothesis was that brand A would filter more particles than brand B and would increase more in mass due to these particles.

I based my hypothesis on the fact that brand A was advertised to be better than brand B.



The constants in this study were: the furnace used for the filters, the time that the filters were left in, size of filters, airflow strength, and quality of the air.

The manipulated variable was air filter brand A and brand B. 

The responding variable was the amount of particles collected determined by their mass. 

To measure the responding variable I used a triple beam balance. 




2-3 furnace filters
1  triple beam scale
1 roll of duct tape



1. Cut furnace filter “A” in half. 
2. Weigh one-half on a triple beam balance and write its mass on the filter half. 
3. Repeat step 2 for the other half. 
4. Repeat steps 1-3 for filter “B”. 
5. Tape one-half of “A” and one-half of “B” together firmly.  
6. Put the filters in the furnace after weighing them with the triple beam balance. 
7. After the filters have been in the furnace for about one week, take them out and weigh them again. Record the weight. 
8. Repeat the trials 3-4 times.



The original purpose of this experiment was to find out which brand of furnace filter was the most effective at straining particles from the air. 

The results of the experiment were: brand A was better than brand B. 

See the table and graph below.



My hypothesis was that brand A would filter more particles than brand B, and that brand A would increase more in mass due to these particles.

The results indicate that this hypothesis should be accepted.

Because of the results of this experiment, I wonder if I would get the same results with the same brands, but with more trials. 

If I were to conduct this project again, I would do more trials with different brands of filters. 


Ever since ancient Egypt, people have used different things to filter the dirt and dust from the air in their homes. Today people still use air filters in their homes, although it has changed over the many years.

Types of Air Filters 
Choosing the type of air cleaner depends on the size and the amount of the particles being taken out of the air. According to their code of operation, air cleaners are classified. The main types of air cleaners are: 1) filtration, 2) electrostatic precipitator, and 3) inertial. Air filters use a dry, uncoated filter made from materials such as wool felt, cellulose fiber, or cotton batting. Air filters come in both cleanable and disposable types. Although dry filters can hold large amounts of lint, large accumulations of lint can clog the filter’s pores, slowing the air flowing though the filter, and lowering the effectiveness. The most recognizable dry filters are those that are used in the air cleaners of cars and in the heating and cooling systems of houses. Electrostatic precipitators are among the most significant air cleaners in use today because they have so many uses and because they run so effectively. They are particularly useful for removing particles of dust and smoke, but they also remove bacteria and pollen. Ventilation controls both the supply and exhaust of air within certain areas in order to provide sufficient oxygen to the occupants within the area. 

Air Cleaning 
Cleaning the air can be done numerous ways. Air filters usually consist of closely packed fiberglass wool or metal fibers that have been coated with sticky oil or some other type of adhesive. As air goes through the filter, the filth, dirt, and dust in the air stick to the fibers. Blowing air through sprays of water called air washers can also clean air. A central air conditioner that uses this method has a row of nozzles that shoot a fine mist of water into the air, rinsing out the dirt.  

Air Allergies 
An allergy is an exaggerated and sometimes harmful reaction to outer matter called allergens. Allergens are caused by animal dander, which are minuscule scales from the skin of furred animals, as well as their hair. About 20% of the world’s population has allergies. Only about 50 million people in the U.S. have allergies of a different kind. Allergic reactions can also be triggered throughout the body than in one specific location; it is called anaphylactic shock. When this happens, a person might get hives or welts on their skin, as well as itching allover the body. An additional danger is that there is a possibility of swelling of the tongue, throat, and voice box because they can close up the upper airways, which causes choking, then death. 

In short, air filtration is a part of everyday life. As you can see, some people have to have filtrated air to not become agitated and /or ill. 


“Air cleaners.” World Book Encyclopedia. 2002 edition.

“Allergies.” Microsoft Encarta. 2002 edition. CD-ROM.

“Allergies.” World Book Encyclopedia. 2002 edition. CD-ROM.

“Types of air cleaners.” World Book Encyclopedia. 2002 edition. CD-ROM.

“Heating, ventilating, and air conditioning.” Microsoft Encarta. 2002 edition. CD-ROM.


I would like to thank the following people for helping make my project possible: 
* My mom for supporting me and helping me throughout my project. 
* My family for supporting me. 
* Because of their hard work, I would like to thank especially Mr. Newkirk and Mrs. Helms for helping me. 
* I would also like to thank my friends Azalea and Brittney for helping me with my project.


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