Fingerprinting soot (towards source identification): Physical structure and chemical composition

Randy L. Vander Wal, Vicky M. Bryg, Michael D. Hays

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

134 Scopus citations


Soot is a highly variable material. Physically the nanostructure can range from amorphous to graphitic to fullerenic. Chemically nearly any element may be included, while the surface functional groups are predominantly oxygen-based. Presented here are HRTEM image analysis results of the physical nanostructure and XPS analysis of the surface chemical composition of soot collected from plant and industrial scale oil-fired boilers, a diesel engine, jet engine and a wildfire. Physically soots from these emission source classes may be differentiated on the basis of carbon lamella length, mean separation and tortuosity. Chemically these soots may also be distinguished by elemental composition and surface functional groups. Together, this suite of parameters can be used to differentiate natural from anthropogenic soots.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)108-117
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Aerosol Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Pollution
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes
  • Atmospheric Science


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