Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 9

Aerosols Related Abstracts

9 Spherical Organic Particle (SOP) Emissions from Fixed-Bed Residential Coal-Burning Devices

Authors: Tafadzwa Makonese, Harold Annegarn, Patricia Forbes


Residential coal combustion is one of the largest sources of carbonaceous aerosols in the Highveld region of South Africa, significantly affecting the local and regional climate. In this study, we investigated single coal burning particles emitted when using different fire-ignition techniques (top-lit up-draft vs bottom-lit up-draft) and air ventilation rates (defined by the number of air holes above and below the fire grate) in selected informal braziers. Aerosol samples were collected on nucleopore filters at the SeTAR Centre Laboratory, University of Johannesburg. Individual particles (~700) were investigated using a scanning electron microscope equipped with an energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS). Two distinct forms of spherical organic particles (SOPs) were identified, one less oxidized than the other. The particles were further classified into "electronically" dark and bright, according to China et al. [2014]. EDS analysis showed that 70% of the dark spherical organic particles balls had higher (~60%) relative oxygen content than in the bright SOPs. We quantify the morphology of spherical organic particles and classify them into four categories: ~50% are bare single particles; ~35% particles are aggregated and form diffusion accretion chains; 10% have inclusions; and 5% are deformed due to impaction on filter material during sampling. We conclude that there are two distinct kinds of coal burning spherical organic particles and that dark SOPs are less volatile than bright SOPs. We also show that these spherical organic particles are similar in nature and characteristics to tar balls observed in biomass combustion, and that they have the potential to absorb sunlight thereby affecting the earth’s radiative budget and climate. This study provides insights on the mixing states, morphology, and possible formation mechanisms of these organic particles from residential coal combustion in informal stoves.

Keywords: Morphology, Aerosols, spherical organic particles, residential coal combustion, fixed-bed, stoves

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8 Atmospheric Circulation Types Related to Dust Transport Episodes over Crete in the Eastern Mediterranean

Authors: K. Alafogiannis, E. E. Houssos, E. Anagnostou, G. Kouvarakis, N. Mihalopoulos, A. Fotiadi


The Mediterranean basin is an area where different aerosol types coexist, including urban/industrial, desert dust, biomass burning and marine particles. Particularly, mineral dust aerosols, mostly originated from North African deserts, significantly contribute to high aerosol loads above the Mediterranean. Dust transport, controlled by the variation of the atmospheric circulation throughout the year, results in a strong spatial and temporal variability of aerosol properties. In this study, the synoptic conditions which favor dust transport over the Eastern Mediterranean are thoroughly investigated. For this reason, three datasets are employed. Firstly, ground-based daily data of aerosol properties, namely Aerosol Optical Thickness (AOT), Ångström exponent (α440-870) and fine fraction from the FORTH-AERONET (Aerosol Robotic Network) station along with measurements of PM10 concentrations from Finokalia station, for the period 2003-2011, are used to identify days with high coarse aerosol load (episodes) over Crete. Then, geopotential height at 1000, 850 and 700 hPa levels obtained from the NCEP/NCAR Reanalysis Project, are utilized to depict the atmospheric circulation during the identified episodes. Additionally, air-mass back trajectories, calculated by HYSPLIT, are used to verify the origin of aerosols from neighbouring deserts. For the 227 identified dust episodes, the statistical methods of Factor and Cluster Analysis are applied on the corresponding atmospheric circulation data to reveal the main types of the synoptic conditions favouring dust transport towards Crete (Eastern Mediterranean). The 227 cases are classified into 11 distinct types (clusters). Dust episodes in Eastern Mediterranean, are found to be more frequent (52%) in spring with a secondary maximum in autumn. The main characteristic of the atmospheric circulation associated with dust episodes, is the presence of a low-pressure system at surface, either in southwestern Europe or western/central Mediterranean, which induces a southerly air flow favouring dust transport from African deserts. The exact position and the intensity of the low-pressure system vary notably among clusters. More rarely dust may originate from deserts of Arabian Peninsula.

Keywords: Aerosols, Atmospheric Circulation, dust particles, Eastern Mediterranean

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7 Formation of Volatile Iodine from Cesium Iodide Aerosols: A DFT Study

Authors: Houssam Hijazi, Laurent Cantrel, Jean-François Paul


Periodic DFT calculations were performed to study the chemistry of CsI particles and the possible release of volatile iodine from CsI surfaces for nuclear safety interest. The results show that water adsorbs at low temperature associatively on the (011) surface of CsI, while water desorbs at higher temperatures. On the other hand, removing iodine species from the surface requires oxidizing the surface one time for each removed iodide atom. The activation energy of removing I2 from the surface in the presence of two OH is 1,2 eV.

Keywords: Aerosols, Reactivity, dft, CSI, water adsorption

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6 An Evaluation of Air Pollutant Concentrations in Gyor, Hungary

Authors: Zsofia Csanadi, Andrea Szabó Nagy


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the concentration levels of common inorganic gases, benzene and particulate matter (PM₁₀ and PM₂.₅) in ambient air of Győr (Hungary) based on the latest published monitoring data. The concentrations of PM10-bound heavy metals (Pb, Cd, As and Ni) and some polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were also assessed. The levels of pollutants were compared with the Hungarian and EU limit or target values defined for health protection and the WHO air quality guidelines (AQGs) or estimated reference levels. Based on the Hungarian or the EU air quality standards and using the Hungarian Air Quality Index it was found that mainly an excellent (SO₂, CO, C₆H₆, heavy metals) or good (NO₂, O₃, PM₁₀, PM₂.₅, benzo(a)pyrene (BaP)) air quality was observed in the urban area of Győr for the year 2016. The annual mean pollutant concentrations (excluding BaP) were not exceeded or just reached the WHO AQGs or reference levels.

Keywords: Air quality, Aerosols, Health protection, air pollutant

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5 Accelerator Mass Spectrometry Analysis of Isotopes of Plutonium in PM₂.₅

Authors: C. G. Mendez-Garcia, E. T. Romero-Guzman, H. Hernandez-Mendoza, C. Solis, E. Chavez-Lomeli, E. Chamizo, R. Garcia-Tenorio


Plutonium is present in different concentrations in the environment and biological samples related to nuclear weapons testing, nuclear waste recycling and accidental discharges of nuclear plants. This radioisotope is considered the most radiotoxic substance, particularly when it enters the human body through inhalation of powders insoluble or aerosols. This is the main reason of the determination of the concentration of this radioisotope in the atmosphere. Besides that, the isotopic ratio of ²⁴⁰Pu/²³⁹Pu provides information about the origin of the source. PM₂.₅ sampling was carried out in the Metropolitan Zone of the Valley of Mexico (MZVM) from February 18th to March 17th in 2015 on quartz filter. There have been significant developments recently due to the establishment of new methods for sample preparation and accurate measurement to detect ultra trace levels as the plutonium is found in the environment. The accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) is a technique that allows measuring levels of detection around of femtograms (10-15 g). The AMS determinations include the chemical isolation of Pu. The Pu separation involved an acidic digestion and a radiochemical purification using an anion exchange resin. Finally, the source is prepared, when Pu is pressed in the corresponding cathodes. According to the author's knowledge on these aerosols showed variations on the ²³⁵U/²³⁸U ratio of the natural value, suggesting that could be an anthropogenic source altering it. The determination of the concentration of the isotopes of Pu can be a useful tool in order the clarify this presence in the atmosphere. The first results showed a mean value of activity concentration of ²³⁹Pu of 280 nBq m⁻³ thus the ²⁴⁰Pu/²³⁹Pu was 0.025 corresponding to the weapon production source; these results corroborate that there is an anthropogenic influence that is increasing the concentration of radioactive material in PM₂.₅. According to the author's knowledge in Total Suspended Particles (TSP) have been reported activity concentrations of ²³⁹⁺²⁴⁰Pu around few tens of nBq m⁻³ and 0.17 of ²⁴⁰Pu/²³⁹Pu ratios. The preliminary results in MZVM show high activity concentrations of isotopes of Pu (40 and 700 nBq m⁻³) and low ²⁴⁰Pu/²³⁹Pu ratio than reported. These results are in the order of the activity concentrations of Pu in weapons-grade of high purity.

Keywords: Aerosols, Radiochemistry, Mass Spectrometry, tracer, fallout, ²⁴⁰Pu/²³⁹Pu ratio

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4 Real-Time Radiological Monitoring of the Atmosphere Using an Autonomous Aerosol Sampler

Authors: Miroslav Hyza, Petr Rulik, Vojtech Bednar, Jan Sury


An early and reliable detection of an increased radioactivity level in the atmosphere is one of the key aspects of atmospheric radiological monitoring. Although the standard laboratory procedures provide detection limits as low as few µBq/m³, their major drawback is the delayed result reporting: typically a few days. This issue is the main objective of the HAMRAD project, which gave rise to a prototype of an autonomous monitoring device. It is based on the idea of sequential aerosol sampling using a carrousel sample changer combined with a gamma-ray spectrometer. In our hardware configuration, the air is drawn through a filter positioned on the carrousel so that it could be rotated into the measuring position after a preset sampling interval. Filter analysis is performed via a 50% HPGe detector inside an 8.5cm lead shielding. The spectrometer output signal is then analyzed using DSP electronics and Gamwin software with preset nuclide libraries and other analysis parameters. After the counting, the filter is placed into a storage bin with a capacity of 250 filters so that the device can run autonomously for several months depending on the preset sampling frequency. The device is connected to a central server via GPRS/GSM where the user can view monitoring data including raw spectra and technological data describing the state of the device. All operating parameters can be remotely adjusted through a simple GUI. The flow rate is continuously adjustable up to 10 m³/h. The main challenge in spectrum analysis is the natural background subtraction. As detection limits are heavily influenced by the deposited activity of radon decay products and the measurement time is fixed, there must exist an optimal sample decay time (delayed spectrum acquisition). To solve this problem, we adopted a simple procedure based on sequential spectrum acquisition and optimal partial spectral sum with respect to the detection limits for a particular radionuclide. The prototyped device proved to be able to detect atmospheric contamination at the level of mBq/m³ per an 8h sampling.

Keywords: Aerosols, Atmosphere, atmospheric radioactivity monitoring, autonomous sampler

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3 The Concentration of Selected Cosmogenic and Anthropogenic Radionuclides in the Ground Layer of the Atmosphere (Polar and Mid-Latitudes Regions)

Authors: A. Burakowska, M. Piotrowski, M. Kubicki, H. Trzaskowska, R. Sosnowiec, B. Myslek-Laurikainen


The most important source of atmospheric radioactivity are radionuclides generated as a result of the impact of primary and secondary cosmic radiation, with the nuclei of nitrogen oxygen and carbon in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere. This creates about thirty radioisotopes of more than twenty elements. For organisms, the four of them are most important: ³H, ⁷Be, ²²Na, ¹⁴C. The natural radionuclides, which are present in Earth crust, also settle on dust and particles of water vapor. By this means, the derivatives of uranium and thorium, and long-life 40K get into the air. ¹³⁷Cs is the most widespread isotope, that is implemented by humans into the environment. To determine the concentration of radionuclides in the atmosphere, high volume air samplers were used, where the aerosol collection took place on a special filter fabric (Petrianov filter tissue FPP-15-1.5). In 2002 the high volume air sampler AZA-1000 was installed at the Polish Polar Observatory of the Polish Academy of Science in Hornsund, Spitsbergen (77°00’N, 15°33’E), designed to operate in all weather conditions of the cold polar region. Since 1991 (with short breaks) the ASS-500 air sampler has been working, which is located in Swider at the Kalinowski Geophysical Observatory of Geophysics Institute of the Polish Academy of Science (52°07’N, 21°15’E). The following results of radionuclides concentrations were obtained from both stations using gamma spectroscopy analysis: ⁷Be, ¹³⁷Cs, ¹³⁴Cs, ²¹⁰Pb, ⁴⁰K. For gamma spectroscopy analysis HPGe (High Purity Germanium) detector were used. These data were compared with each other. The preliminary results gave evidence that radioactivity measured in aerosols is not proportional to the amount of dust for both studied regions. Furthermore, the results indicate annual variability (seasonal fluctuations) as well as a decrease in the average activity of ⁷Be with increasing latitude. The content of ⁷Be in surface air also indicates the relationship with solar activity cycles.

Keywords: Gamma Spectroscopy, Aerosols, air filters, atmospheric beryllium, environmental radionuclides, mid-latitude regions radionuclides, polar regions radionuclides, solar cycles

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2 Characterization of Particle Charge from Aerosol Generation Process: Impact on Infrared Signatures and Material Reactivity

Authors: Erin M. Durke, Monica L. McEntee, Meilu He, Suresh Dhaniyala


Aerosols are one of the most important and significant surfaces in the atmosphere. They can influence weather, absorption, and reflection of light, and reactivity of atmospheric constituents. A notable feature of aerosol particles is the presence of a surface charge, a characteristic imparted via the aerosolization process. The existence of charge can complicate the interrogation of aerosol particles, so many researchers remove or neutralize aerosol particles before characterization. However, the charge is present in real-world samples, and likely has an effect on the physical and chemical properties of an aerosolized material. In our studies, we aerosolized different materials in an attempt to characterize the charge imparted via the aerosolization process and determine what impact it has on the aerosolized materials’ properties. The metal oxides, TiO₂ and SiO₂, were aerosolized expulsively and then characterized, using several different techniques, in an effort to determine the surface charge imparted upon the particles via the aerosolization process. Particle charge distribution measurements were conducted via the employment of a custom scanning mobility particle sizer. The results of the charge distribution measurements indicated that expulsive generation of 0.2 µm SiO₂ particles produced aerosols with upwards of 30+ charges on the surface of the particle. Determination of the degree of surface charging led to the use of non-traditional techniques to explore the impact of additional surface charge on the overall reactivity of the metal oxides, specifically TiO₂. TiO₂ was aerosolized, again expulsively, onto a gold-coated tungsten mesh, which was then evaluated with transmission infrared spectroscopy in an ultra-high vacuum environment. The TiO₂ aerosols were exposed to O₂, H₂, and CO, respectively. Exposure to O₂ resulted in a decrease in the overall baseline of the aerosol spectrum, suggesting O₂ removed some of the surface charge imparted during aerosolization. Upon exposure to H₂, there was no observable rise in the baseline of the IR spectrum, as is typically seen for TiO₂, due to the population of electrons into the shallow trapped states and subsequent promotion of the electrons into the conduction band. This result suggests that the additional charge imparted via aerosolization fills the trapped states, therefore no rise is seen upon exposure to H₂. Dosing the TiO₂ aerosols with CO showed no adsorption of CO on the surface, even at lower temperatures (~100 K), indicating the additional charge on the aerosol surface prevents the CO molecules from adsorbing to the TiO₂ surface. The results observed during exposure suggest that the additional charge imparted via aerosolization impacts the interaction with each probe gas.

Keywords: Aerosols, charge, Reactivity, Infrared

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1 Long Term Monitoring and Assessment of Atmospheric Aerosols in Indo-Gangetic Region of India

Authors: Amrendra Kumar, Ningombam Linthoingambi Devi


The long term sampling at one of the most populated city in Indo-Gangetic region shows higher mass concentration of atmospheric aerosol (PM₂.₅) during spring season (144.70µg/m³), summer season (91.96 µg/m³), the autumn season (266.48µg/m³) and winter season (367.09 µg/m³) respectively. The concentration of PM₂.₅ in Patna across the year shows much higher than the limit fixed by the national ambient air quality level fixed by central pollution control board India (CPCB, India) and World Health Organization (WHO). Different water-soluble cation (Na⁺, K⁺, Ca²⁺, NH₄⁺ , and Mg²⁺) and anion (Cl⁻, NO₃⁻ , and SO₄²⁻) species were detected in PM₂.₅. Results show the significantly higher loaded of water-soluble ions during winter and spring seasons. The acidity of the atmosphere was revealed and calculated using selected major cations (K⁺, Ca²⁺ , and NH₄⁺) and anions (SO₄²⁻, and NO₃⁻). A regression correlation was analyzed to check the significant linkage between the acidity and alkalinity ions. During the winter season (r² = 0.79) and spring season (r² = 0.64) shows good significant correlation between the cations and anions. The ratio of NO₃⁻/SO₄²⁻ indicates the sources of secondary pollutants were mainly influenced by industrial and vehicular emission however SO₄²⁻ mostly emitted from industries during the winter season.

Keywords: Aerosols, source apportionment, inorganic species, Indo-Gangetic region

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