Laboratory and field evaluations of the LISST-100 instrument for suspended particle size determinations

Marine Geology
By: , and 



Advances in technology have resulted in a new instrument that is designed for in-situ determination of particle size spectra. Such an instrument that can measure undisturbed particle size distributions is much needed for sediment transport studies. The LISST-100 (Laser In-Situ Scattering and Transmissometry) uses the principle of laser diffraction to obtain the size distribution and volume concentration of suspended material in 32 size classes logarithmically spaced between 1.25 and 250 μm. This paper describes a laboratory evaluation of the ability of LISST-100 to determine particle sizes using suspensions of single size, artificial particles. Findings show the instrument is able to determine particle size to within about 10% with increasing error as particle size increases. The instrument determines volume (or mass) concentration using a volume conversion factor Cv. This volume conversion factor is theoretically a constant. In the laboratory evaluation Cv is found to vary by a factor of about three over the particle size range between 5 and 200 μm. Results from field studies in South San Francisco Bay show that values of mass concentration of suspended marine sediments estimated by LISST-100 agree favorably with estimates from optical backscatterance sensors if an appropriate value of Cv, according to mean size, is used and the assumed average particle (aggregate) density is carefully chosen. Analyses of size distribution of suspended materials in South San Francisco Bay over multiple tide cycles suggest the likelihood of different sources of sediment because of different size characteristics during flood and ebb cycles.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Laboratory and field evaluations of the LISST-100 instrument for suspended particle size determinations
Series title Marine Geology
DOI 10.1016/S0025-3227(01)00137-2
Volume 175
Issue 1-4
Year Published 2001
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Toxic Substances Hydrology Program
Description 21 p.
First page 199
Last page 219
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