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Environ Sci Technol. 2006 Feb 1;40(3):945-54.

Effects of sampling artifacts and operating parameters on the performance of a semicontinuous particulate elemental carbon/organic carbon monitor.

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Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Southern California, 3620 South Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90089, USA.


The carbonaceous component of atmospheric particulate matter (PM) is considered very important with respect to the observed adverse health effects of PM. Particulate organic and elemental carbon have traditionally been measured off-line after daily, time-integrated particle collection on filters. However, the subdaily or hourly variability of elemental carbon (EC) and organic carbon (OC) can help to assess the variability of sources, ambient levels, and human exposure. In this study, the performance of the Sunset Laboratory Inc. semicontinuous EC/OC monitorwas assessed in a Los Angeles location representing typical urban pollution. An intermonitor comparison showed high precision (R2 of 0.98 and 0.97 for thermal OC and EC, respectively). By changing the inlet configurations of one of the monitors (adding a denuder, a Teflon filter, or both), the influences of positive and negative sampling artifacts were investigated. The positive artifact was found to be relatively large (7.59 microg/m3 on average), more than 50% of measured OC, but it was practically eliminated with a denuder. The negative artifact was much smaller (less than 20% of the positive artifact) and may be neglected in most cases. A comparison of different temperature profiles, including a fast 4-min analysis using optical EC correction, showed good agreement among methods. Finally, a novel configuration using a size selective inlet impactor removing particles greater than 250 nm in diameter allowed for semicontinuous size-fractionated EC/OC measurements. Evolution of OC at different temperatures of the thermal analysis showed higher volatility OC in larger particles.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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