Influence of Ventilation on Formation and Growth of 1-20 nm Particles via Ozone-Human Chemistry

Shen Yang, Tatjana Müller, Nijing Wang, Gabriel Bekö, Meixia Zhang, Marouane Merizak, Pawel Wargocki, Jonathan Williams, Dusan Licina*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Ozone reaction with human surfaces is an important source of ultrafine particles indoors. However, 1-20 nm particles generated from ozone-human chemistry, which mark the first step of particle formation and growth, remain understudied. Ventilation and indoor air movement could have important implications for these processes. Therefore, in a controlled-climate chamber, we measured ultrafine particles initiated from ozone-human chemistry and their dependence on the air change rate (ACR, 0.5, 1.5, and 3 h-1) and operation of mixing fans (on and off). Concurrently, we measured volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and explored the correlation between particles and gas-phase products. At 25-30 ppb ozone levels, humans generated 0.2-7.7 × 1012 of 1-3 nm, 0-7.2 × 1012 of 3-10 nm, and 0-1.3 × 1012 of 10-20 nm particles per person per hour depending on the ACR and mixing fan operation. Size-dependent particle growth and formation rates increased with higher ACR. The operation of mixing fans suppressed the particle formation and growth, owing to enhanced surface deposition of the newly formed particles and their precursors. Correlation analyses revealed complex interactions between the particles and VOCs initiated by ozone-human chemistry. The results imply that ventilation and indoor air movement may have a more significant influence on particle dynamics and fate relative to indoor chemistry.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number10
Pages (from-to)4704-4715
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • Indoor particles
  • Air change rate
  • Fan operation
  • VOCs
  • Human skin
  • Indoor chemistry


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