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0 - EN779:2002 TO - EN779:2012

EN779:2002 preceeds to the current release of EN779:2012 and the variation between
the two standards is significant. Included in the 2002 release is a test for the initial
electrostatic potential of media or filter, if tested this result is included in the 2002 report
but has no bearing on the filter grade. An explanation for electrostatic potential can be
found in the Fundamentals section.
In the 2002 edition only average arrestance or average efficiency defined the filtration
classification, the 2012 edition includes the result for electrostatic discharge and
grades the filter based around the minimum efficiency average arrestance, average
efficiency, new initial efficiency and discharged initial efficiency.
Although the report output appears the same, the filter grade can alter drastically with
the potential for an F9 to EN779:2002 filter dropping to M6 to EN779:2012. If a filter
which has an Average Efficiency of 98% making it F9 to EN779:2002, has an initial
discharged efficiency of 30% then it's new classification for EN779:2012 will be M6.
FRAM Industrial has created a straight forward chart explanation below, which
graphically explains the difference between the two standard revisions. The full
resolution image can be downloaded to clicking the image.


Straining and inertial separation are the principle methods for filtration,
withinterception, diffusion (Brownian motion) and electrostatic charge being specific
forms of inertial separation.
These principles are used for contaminant filtration with varying levels of significance,
specific environmentally designed filters can be developed to strengthen each
characteristics where needed.
Testing in the filtration industry is an esteemed and essential part of ensuring product
quality and customer satisfaction; the industry is heavily standardised and regulated
with globally and regionally popular testing methods.
FRAM Industrial has a pedigree of performing internal product quality testing
procedures from the most fundamental dimensional check confirmation to full product
life test standards such as the ARAMCO 32-SAMSS-008.
As a natural part of design and developement, products in the FRAM Industrial range
are independently tested to provide both manufacturing and market assurance. A
strong relationship is maintained with all of the industry related test laboratory houses
to ensure the highest quality products.


This method of filtration relates directly to the ratio of particle size to open area; if the
particles intended open pathway is smaller than the particle it will be blocked. This is
the least complicated and most common method of filtration, its apparent in all filter
types but depending on media pore size its typically the larger particles which are
affected by this method most.
Over time as contaminant blocks each pore or parts of a pore, the contaminant
begins to act as a filtration method helping to build up a contamainant layer known as
a cake.


Contaminant separation takes place through particle and air stream inertia energy;
inertial separation generally describes a head on impact due to a lack of inertial
change. The air being filtered is forced through and around the fibres in the filter
pleat pack, if the contaminant particles are carrying too little or too much inertia to
make an effective change of direction around a fibre they will hit the fibre and stop.
Surface friction and areas of static low pressure air around the particle base prevent
the contaminant from moving back into the air stream.
Inertial separation is prevalent in all filter styles and will affect all contaminant particle
sizes; its effectiveness can be influenced by the saturation of other particles in the air
stream, particles can be both dislodged but also trap other particles.


Turbulant boundary layers of air around contaminant particles in the airstream generate the
transfer of energy to create the inertial force moving the contaminant. Although contaminant
particles are pushed in the airstreams general direction their paths are heavily affected by their
inertia and mass. Interception is a form of inertial separation where the contaminant comes
into contact with any point around the filter media due to an inertial change.

After contact is made, surface friction and static low pressure areas around the particle will
prevent it from moving. This condition can affect all particle size, they can be disloged by
other particles in the area stream but stopped particles can also help to catch moving particles.


Small contaminant particles can react dramatically through interaction with gas
molecules in the air stream. Although the gaseous elements of the air stream are

very small and light, (for example a hydrogen atom is estimated at around 0.1 nm),
the massive number of atoms the air stream (>1 yotta or 1024 per cubic metre of air)
is able to transfer is enough energy to influence objects with a 100 nm diameter into
Brownian motion.
The result of Brownian motion is a particle path which is considered random, also its
vector path length is in proportion to particle size. As contaminant particle size
reduces the probability of a particle hitting a fibre significantly increases.
Distance travelled by a particle decreases proportionally with particle size; the
smaller the particle the further it will travel, increasing the chance it will be inertially
separated, therefore particle removal efficiency is expected to increase for smaller
particles less than MPPS.


Inertial separation is significantly increased by electrostatic charge, positively or
negatively charged atoms in the filter attract contaminant particles of opposite
charge. Electrostic charge can be seen to temporarily improve filtration efficiency by
attracting particles with more or less charge to the filter media; this neutralises or
balances the filter system charge which after a short period reduces the number of
contaminant particles previously being attracted to the media fibres.
Filters can have electrostatic charge artificially induced into them, to improve initial
efficiency but over time due to dust loading this charge is balanced and the filter will
become less efficient. All filter products will have some level of electrostatic charge;

synthetic polymer based products are receptive to induced electrostatic charge where
as glass based products are not.
In the interest of fairness the industry tests for electrostatic charge as part of
theEN779 and EN1822 filtration tests, for more information click the standard links.

3.0 - Filter Specifications and Efficiencies: Fundamental

Changes to Filter Standards
Following a review by the CEN (European Committee for Standardisation), there have been changes to
the following European Standards providing changes to the classifications of filters, allowing clear
definition and clarity to the specification and efficiency calculations for filter classes;
EN779: 2012 Particulate Air Filters For General Ventilation Determination of the Filtration
EN1822-1: 2009 High Efficiency Air Filters (EPA, HEPA & ULPA) Part 1: Classification, Performance
Testing, Marking.

3.1 - EN 779:2012
3.1.1 - Revised European Standard for General Ventilation Filters
The European Committee for Standardization (CEN) has established a new standard for general
ventilation air filters, EN779:2012. Where the existing EN779:2002 was already widely accepted as a
standard for testing and classifying coarse and fine filters based on average efficiency, the revised
standard is again an important step forward.
The EN779:2012 introduces an air filter classification for fine filters F7 to F9 based on Minimum
Efficiency (ME). ME is defined as the lowest value of three different tests for 0.4 m particles; initial
efficiency, efficiency throughout the tests loading procedure and discharged efficiency. Those air filters
that do not meet the ME requirements will lose their original efficiency classification and will
automatically drop one or more classes.
With this revised methodology, the new EN779 will address the negative effects on Indoor Air Quality
(IAQ) caused by underperforming air filters that currently exist in the market. Although many air filters
have demonstrated compliant average efficiencies, some do lose their particulate collection functionality
over time and therewith become a gateway for airborne contamination in buildings. With the
implementation of ME requirements in EN779:2012, the industry is now stimulated to develop fine filters
with an improved efficiency throughout the entire installation cycle.

3.1.2 - Revised Filter Classifications

Fine filters previously rated as F5 or F6 to EN779:2002 are not required to meet an ME value in the new
situation. To clearly differentiate these from those that do, filter classes F5 and F6 have been renamed
to M5 and M6 as part of a new medium filter category. The revised filter class descriptions are;

G1 G4: Course Filters

M5 M6: Medium Filters

F7 F9: Fine Filters

The following table shows the classification and efficiencies of filters as per EN 779:


Final Pressure Final

Pressure Drop (Pa)

Average arrestance (Am)

of synthetic dust %

Average efficiency (Em)

of 0.4 m particles %

Minimum Efficiency(ME)
for 0.4 particles % %



50 < Am < 65



65 < Am < 80



80 < Am < 90



90 < Am



40 < Em < 60



60 < Em < 80



80 < Em < 90




90 < Em < 95




95 < Em


Note: The characteristics of atmospheric dust vary widely compared to those of the synthetic dust used
in the EN779 tests. Because of this, the test results do not provide a completely accurate basis for
predicting either operational performance or service life. Loss of media charge or shedding of particles
or fibres can also adversely affect efficiency.
The re-grading of the M5 & M6 filters and removal of the ME test requirements may have an impact on
cleanroom design and the selection of pre-filters for ISO 14644 environments. This change should be
considered during the design phase to ensure that the appropriate testing can be completed and
documented to prove the integrity of the environment that the filter is supporting.

3.2 - EN 1822-1:2009
3.2.1 - Revised European Standard for High-Efficiency Ventilation Filters
This new European standard is based on particle counting methods that actually cover most needs for
different applications. EN 1822-1:2009 differs from its previous edition (EN 1822-1:1998) by including
the following:

An alternative method for leakage testing of Group H filters with shapes other than panels

An alternative test method for using a solid, instead of a liquid, test aerosol

A method for testing and classifying of filters made out of membrane-type media

A method for testing and classifying filters made out of synthetic fibre media

3.2.2 - Revised Filter Classifications

HEPA filters previously rated as H10 to H12 to EN1822-1:1998 are not required to meet a Local Value
in the new situation. To clearly differentiate these from those that do, filter classes H10 to H12 have
been renamed as E10 to E12 as part of a new EPA filter category. The revised filter class descriptions

E10 E12: Efficiency Particulate Air (EPA) Filters

H13 H14: High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) Filters

U15 U17: Ultra Low Penetration Air (ULPA) Filters

The following table shows the various classifications of high-efficiency filters per EN 1822-1:
Integral Value

Local Value

Filter Class

Collection Efficiency %%

Penetration %

Collection Efficiency %

Penetration %


































The re-grading of the E10 to E12 filters and removal of the Local Value test requirements may have an
impact on cleanroom design and filter selection for ISO 14644 environments. This change should be
considered during the design phase to ensure that the appropriate testing can be completed and
documented to prove the integrity of the environment that the filter is supporting.

3.2.3n - Testing
Testing per EN 1822 is normally done with an aerosol probe which can be moved over the entire surface
of the filter. This moving of the aerosol probe, or scanning, results in the measurement of many local
collection efficiencies. These local efficiencies can be used to calculate the overall efficiency of the filter
or the leak rate of a specific area of the filter. The overall efficiency calculation is often termed the integral
value, while the leak rate is often termed the local value.
Tests are performed on new filters at specified nominal volumetric air flow. Filters of U15 or above must
be scanned with a particle counter probe designed for this purpose. An oil thread test can be utilized on
filters of H13 and H14 grade.
Filter testing includes the following measurement:
1. Pressure drop at nominal air flow
2. Overall collection efficiency at most penetrating particle size (MPPS)
3. Local collection efficiencies at MPPS
4. For filters with a specification of H13 and above, the Local Value has to be met to ensure that
there are no leaks.
Gordon Farquharson
Executive Consultant, is a Chartered Engineer with a unique blend of regulatory, technical and operational
experience. He has conducted a broad spectrum of international audits, inspections and training
assignments, encompassing technical aspects, GMP compliance and operational due diligence. Gordon is
also active in developing standards and guidance within the global pharmaceutical industry (PIC/s, EU,

Posted on: March 26, 2013