Time-resolved measurements of aerosol elemental concentrations in indoor working environments

M. Žitnik, A. Kastelic, Z. Rupnik, P. Pelicon, P. Vaupetič, K. Bučar, S. Novak, Z. Samardžija, S. Matsuyama, G. Catella, K. Ishii

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11 Citations (Scopus)


We have measured the elemental concentrations in aerosols with a 2-h time resolution in two different types of working environment: a chemistry laboratory dealing with the processing of advanced nanoparticulate materials and a medium-sized machine workshop. Non-stop 10-day and 12-day samplings were performed at each location in order to determine the concentration trends during the non-working/working and weekday/weekend periods. Supplementary measurements of PM10 aerosols with a 2-day sample collection time were performed with a standard Gent PM10 sampler to compare the elemental concentrations with the time-averaged concentrations detected by the 2D step-sampler. The concentrations were determined a posteriori by analyzing the x-ray spectra of aerosol samples emitted after 3-MeV proton bombardment. The PM10 samples collected in the chemistry laboratory were additionally inspected by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX) to determine the chemical compositions of the individual particles. In the workshop, a total PM10 mass sampling was performed simultaneously with a minute resolution to compare the signal with typical outdoor PM10 concentration levels. A factor analysis of the time-resolved dataset points to six and eight factors in the chemistry laboratory and the machine workshop, respectively. These factors describe most of the data variance, and their composition in terms of different elements can be related to specific indoor activities and conditions. We were able to demonstrate that the elemental concentration sampling with hourly resolution is an excellent tool for studying the indoor air pollution. While sampling the total PM10 mass concentration with a minute resolution may lack the potential to identify the emission sources in a " noisy" environment, the time averaging on a day time scale is too coarse to cope with the working dynamics, even if elemental sensitivity is an option.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4954-4963
Number of pages10
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Issue number38
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Dec


  • Aerosols
  • EDX
  • Element sensitive
  • Indoor air pollution
  • Machine workshop
  • PIXE
  • SEM
  • Time resolution


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