Indoor ozone/human chemistry and ventilation strategies

Christian Mark Salvador, Gabriel Bekö, Charles J. Weschler, Glenn Morrison, Michael Le Breton, Mattias Hallquist, Lars Ekberg, Sarka Langer*

*Corresponding author for this work

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    This study aimed to better understand and quantify the influence of ventilation strategies on occupant-related indoor air chemistry. The oxidation of human skin oil constituents was studied in a continuously-ventilated climate chamber at two air exchange rates (1 h-1 and 3 h-1 ) and two initial ozone mixing ratios (30 ppb and 60 ppb). Additional measurements were performed to investigate the effect of intermittent ventilation ("off" followed by "on"). Soiled t-shirts were used to simulate the presence of occupants. A Time-of-Flight-Chemical Ionization-Mass-Spectrometer (ToF-CIMS) in positive mode using protonated water clusters was used to measure the oxygenated reaction products geranyl acetone, 6-methyl-5-hepten-2-one (6-MHO) and 4-oxopentanal (4-OPA). The measurement data were used in a series of mass balance models accounting for formation and removal processes. Reactions of ozone with squalene occurring on the surface of the t-shirts are mass transport limited; ventilation rate has only a small effect on this surface chemistry. Ozone-squalene reactions on the shirts produced gas-phase geranyl acetone, which was subsequently removed almost equally by ventilation and further reaction with ozone. About 70% of gas-phase 6-MHO was produced in surface reactions on the t-shirts, the remainder in secondary gas-phase reactions of ozone with geranyl acetone. 6-MHO was primarily removed by ventilation, while further reaction with ozone was responsible for about a third of its removal. 4-OPA was formed primarily on the surfaces of the shirts (~60%); gas-phase reactions of ozone with geranyl acetone and 6-MHO accounted for ~30% and ~10%, respectively. 4-OPA was removed entirely by ventilation. The results from the intermittent ventilation scenarios showed delayed formation of the reaction products and lower product concentrations compared to continuous ventilation. This article is protected by copyright. 
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalIndoor Air
    Issue number6
    Pages (from-to)913-925
    Publication statusPublished - 2019


    • Indoor environment
    • ToF-CIMS
    • Air exchange rate
    • Oxygenated volatile organic compounds
    • Ozone
    • Squalene


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