Products of Ozone-Initiated Chemistry in a Simulated Aircraft Environment

Armin Wisthaler, Gyöngyi Tamás, David P. Wyon, Peter Strøm-Tejsen, David Space, Jonathan Beauchamp, Armin Hansel, Tillmann D. Märk, Charles J. Weschler

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


We used proton-transfer-reaction mass spectrometry (PTR-MS) to examine the products formed when ozone reacted with the materials in a simulated aircraft cabin, including a loaded high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter in the return air system. Four conditions were examined: cabin (baseline), cabin plus ozone, cabin plus soiled T-shirts (surrogates for human occupants), and cabin plus soiled T-shirts plus ozone. The addition of ozone to the cabin without T-shirts, at concentrations typically encountered during commercial air travel, increased the mixing ratio (v:v concentration) of detected pollutants from 35 ppb to 80 ppb. Most of this increase was due to the production of saturated and unsaturated aldehydes and tentatively identified low-molecular-weight carboxylic acids. The addition of soiled T-shirts, with no ozone present, increased the mixing ratio of pollutants in the cabin air only slightly, whereas the combination of soiled T-shirts and ozone increased the mixing ratio of detected pollutants to 110 ppb, with more than 20 ppb originating from squalene oxidation products (acetone, 4-oxopentanal, and 6-methyl-5-hepten-2-one). For the two conditions with ozone present, the more-abundant oxidation products included acetone/propanal (8-20 ppb), formaldehyde (8-10 ppb), nonanal (~6 ppb), 4-oxopentanal (3-7 ppb), acetic acid (~7 ppb), formic acid (~3 ppb), and 6-methyl-5-hepten-2-one (0.5-2.5 ppb), as well as compounds tentatively identified as acrolein (0.6-1 ppb) and crotonaldehyde (0.6-0.8 ppb). The odor thresholds of certain products were exceeded. With an outdoor air exchange of 3 h-1 and a recirculation rate of 20 h-1, the measured ozone surface removal rate constant was 6.3 h-1 when T-shirts were not present, compared to 11.4 h-1 when T-shirts were present.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Science & Technology
Issue number13
Pages (from-to)4823-4832
Publication statusPublished - 2005


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