The impact of recirculation, ventilation and filters on secondary organic aerosols generated by indoor chemistry

M.O. Fadeyi, Charles J. Weschler, K.W. Tham

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

Abstract

This study examined the impact of recirculation rates (7 and 14 h(-1)), ventilation rates (1 and 2 h(-1)), and filtration on secondary organic aerosols (SOAs) generated by ozone of outdoor origin reacting with limonene of indoor origin. Experiments were conducted within a recirculating air handling system that serviced an unoccupied, 236 m(3) environmental chamber configured to simulate an office; either no filter, a new filter or a used filter was located downstream of where outdoor air mixed with return air. For otherwise comparable conditions, the SOA number and mass concentrations at a recirculation rate of 14 h(-1) were significantly smaller than at a recirculation rate of 7 h(-1). This was due primarily to lower ozone concentrations, resulting from increased surface removal, at the higher recirculation rate. Increased ventilation increased outdoor-to-indoor transport of ozone, but this was more than offset by the increased dilution of SOA derived from ozone-initiated chemistry. The presence of a particle filter (new or used) strikingly lowered SOA number and mass concentrations compared with conditions when no filter was present. Even though the particle filter in this study had only 35% single-pass removal efficiency for 100 nm particles, filtration efficiency was greatly amplified by recirculation. SOA particle levels were reduced to an even greater extent when an activated carbon filter was in the system, due to ozone removal by the carbon filter. These findings improve our understanding of the influence of commonly employed energy saving procedures on occupant exposures to ozone and ozone-derived SOA.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Volume43
Issue number22-23
Pages (from-to)3538-3547
ISSN1352-2310
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Keywords

  • Recirculation
  • Filtration
  • Secondary organic aerosols
  • Ventilation
  • Ozone-initiated chemistry
  • Surface removal

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