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Issue 4, 2011
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Temperature effect of tapered element oscillating microbalance (TEOM) system measuring semi-volatile organic particulate matter

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Abstract

The tapered element oscillating microbalance (TEOM) system is widely used to measure continuous particle mass concentrations in air quality networks. However, the semi-volatile aerosol material is lost under normal operation conditions (50 °C). This study has evaluated the error in the organic fraction of the TEOM-measured secondary organic aerosols formed from the degradation of biogenic pollutants. Experiments were carried out under controlled, water-free conditions in a fully equipped, high volume atmospheric simulator—the European PhotoReactor (EUPHORE). The ozonolysis of α-pinene, β-pinene and limonene provided a reproducible source of organic aerosol. Particulate matter concentration profiles were registered for different TEOM operating temperatures. When these values were compared with values from a filter-based gravimetric method and a scanning mobility particle sizer (SMPS), they showed that the differences between monitoring systems increased with increasing TEOM temperature. According to our results, when the TEOM is operated at 50 °C, it fails to measure 32–46% of the organic particulate material, depending on the aerosol precursor. This study has also identified and quantified the multi-oxygenated organic compounds lost in the TEOM monitoring by using a method based on the gas chromatography-mass spectrometry technique. Important losses have been calculated for relevant ambient aerosol compounds such as pinonic acid, pinonaldehyde, norpinone and limonalic acid. In conclusion, the present study has demonstrated that a high operating temperature of the TEOM monitor reduces the humidity interference but underestimates the semi-volatile organic fraction.

Graphical abstract: Temperature effect of tapered element oscillating microbalance (TEOM) system measuring semi-volatile organic particulate matter

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Article information


Submitted
04 Oct 2010
Accepted
25 Jan 2011
First published
23 Feb 2011

J. Environ. Monit., 2011,13, 1017-1026
Article type
Paper

Temperature effect of tapered element oscillating microbalance (TEOM) system measuring semi-volatile organic particulate matter

L. Tortajada-Genaro and E. Borrás, J. Environ. Monit., 2011, 13, 1017
DOI: 10.1039/C0EM00451K

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