Infiltration of outdoor ultrafine particles into a test house

Donghyun Rim, Lance Wallace, Andrew Persily

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


Ultrafine particles (UFP) (<100 nm) have been related to adverse human health effects such as oxidative stress and cardiovascular mortality. However, human exposure to particles of outdoor origin is heavily dependent on their infiltration into homes. The infiltration factor (Finf) and its variation as a function of several factors becomes of enormous importance in epidemiological studies. The objective of this study is to investigate the transport of UFP into a residential building and to determine the functional dependence of infiltration on particle size and air change rate. A secondary objective was to estimate the values of the penetration coefficient P and composite deposition rate kcomp that enter into the definition of Finf. Using continuous measurements of indoor and outdoor concentrations of size-resolved particles ranging from 5 to 100 nm in a manufactured test house, particle penetration through the building, composite deposition, and the resulting value of Finf were calculated for two cases: closed windows and one window open 7.5 cm. Finf ranged from close to 0 (particles <10 nm) to 0.3 (particles >80 nm) with windows closed and from 0 to 0.6 with one window open. The penetration coefficient (closed windows) increased from about 0.2 for 10-nm particles to an asymptote near 0.6 for particles from 30-100 nm. Open window penetration coefficients were higher, ranging from 0.6 to 0.8. Closed-window composite deposition rates, which included losses to the furnace filter and to the ductwork as well as to interior surfaces, monotonically decreased from levels of about 1.5 h 1 for 10-nm particles to 0.3 h1 for 100-nm particles. For the open-window case, composite deposition rates were higher for particles <20 nm, reaching values of 3.5 h1. Mean standard errors associated with estimates of P, kcomp, and Finf for two series of measurements ranged from 1.0% to 4.4%.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5908-5913
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number15
StatePublished - Aug 1 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry


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