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J Hazard Mater. 2013 Oct 15;261:542-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2013.08.001. Epub 2013 Aug 8.

A rapid and accurate method, ventilated chamber C-history method, of measuring the emission characteristic parameters of formaldehyde/VOCs in building materials.

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  • 1Department of Building Science, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China.


The indoor pollution caused by formaldehyde and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted from building materials poses an adverse effect on people's health. It is necessary to understand and control the behaviors of the emission sources. Based on detailed mass transfer analysis on the emission process in a ventilated chamber, this paper proposes a novel method of measuring the three emission characteristic parameters, i.e., the initial emittable concentration, the diffusion coefficient and the partition coefficient. A linear correlation between the logarithm of dimensionless concentration and time is derived. The three parameters can then be calculated from the intercept and slope of the correlation. Compared with the closed chamber C-history method, the test is performed under ventilated condition thus some commonly-used measurement instruments (e.g., GC/MS, HPLC) can be applied. While compared with other methods, the present method can rapidly and accurately measure the three parameters, with experimental time less than 12h and R(2) ranging from 0.96 to 0.99 for the cases studied. Independent experiment was carried out to validate the developed method, and good agreement was observed between the simulations based on the determined parameters and experiments. The present method should prove useful for quick characterization of formaldehyde/VOC emissions from indoor materials.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Building material; C-history method; Formaldehyde; Indoor air quality (IAQ); Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)

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