Indoor ultrafine particles (UFP, <100 nm) released from combustion and consumer products lead to elevated human exposure to UFP. UFP emitted from the sources undergo aerosol transformation processes such as coagulation and deposition. The coagulation effect can be significant during the source emission due to high concentration and high mobility of nanosize particles. However, few studies have estimated size-resolved UFP source emission strengths while considering coagulation in their theoretical and experimental research work. The primary objective of this study is to characterize UFP source strength by considering coagulation in addition to other indoor processes (i.e., deposition and ventilation) in a realistic setting. A secondary objective is to test a hypothesis that size-resolved UFP source emission rates are unimodal and log-normally distributed for three common indoor UFP sources: an electric stove, a natural gas burner, and a paraffin wax candle. Experimental investigations were performed in a full-scale test building. Size- and time-resolved concentrations of UFP ranging from 2 to 100 nm were monitored using a scanning mobility particle sizer (SMPS). Based on the temporal evolution of the particle size distribution during the source emission period, the size-dependent source emission rate was determined using a material-balance modeling approach. The results indicate that, for a given UFP source, the source strength varies with particle size and source type. The analytical model assuming a log-normally distributed source emission rate could predict the temporal evolution of the particle size distribution with reasonable accuracy for the gas stove and the candle. Including the effect of coagulation was found to increase the estimates of source strengths by up to a factor of 8. This result implies that previous studies on indoor UFP source strengths considering only deposition and ventilation might have largely underestimated the true values of UFP source strengths, especially for combustion due to the natural gas stove and the candle.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Chemistry