Formation and emissions of carbonyls during and following gas-phase ozonation of indoor materials

D.G. Poppendieck, H.F. Hubbard, Charles J. Weschler, R.L. Corsi

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Ozone concentrations that are several orders of magnitude greater than typical urban ambient concentrations are necessary for gas-phase ozonation of buildings, either for deodorization or for disinfection of biological agents. However, there is currently no published literature on the interaction of building materials and ozone under such extreme conditions. It would be useful to understand, for example in the case of building re-occupation planning, what types and amounts of reaction products may form and persist in a building after ozonation. In this study, 24 materials were exposed to ozone at concentrations of 1000 ppm in the inlet stream of experimental chambers. Fifteen target carbonyls were selected and measured as building ozonation by-products (BOBPs). During the 36 h that include the 16 h ozonation and 20 h persistence phase, the total BOBP mass released from flooring and wall coverings ranged from 1 to 20 mg m(-2), with most of the carbonyls being of lower molecular weight (C-1-C-4). In contrast, total BOBP mass released from wood-based products ranged from 20 to 100 mg m(-2), with a greater fraction of the BOBPs being heavier carbonyls (C-5-C-9). The total BOBP mass released during an ozonation event is a function of both the total surface area of the material and the BOBP emission rate per unit area of material. Ceiling tile, carpet, office partition, and gypsum wallboard with flat latex paint often have large surface areas in commercial buildings and these same materials exhibited relatively high BOBP releases. The greatest overall BOBP mass releases were observed for three materials that building occupants might have significant contact with: paper, office partition, and medium density fiberboard, e.g., often used in office furniture. These materials also exhibited extended BOBP persistence following ozonation; some BOBPs (e.g., nonanal) persist for months or more at emission rates large enough to result in indoor concentrations that exceed their odor threshold.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Issue number35
Pages (from-to)7614-7626
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • by-products
  • aldehydes
  • ozone
  • heterogeneous chemistry
  • carbonyls

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