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A new detailed chemical model for indoor air pollution

Carslaw, N. (2006) A new detailed chemical model for indoor air pollution. Atmospheric Environment, 41 (6). pp. 1164-1179. ISSN 1352-2310

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A detailed chemical box model has been constructed based on a comprehensive chemical mechanism (the Master Chemical Mechanism) to investigate indoor air chemistry in a typical urban residence in the UK. Unlike previous modelling studies of indoor air chemistry, the mechanism adopted contains no simplifications such as lumping or the use of surrogate species, allowing more insight into indoor air chemistry than previously possible. The chemical mechanism, which has been modified to include the degradation reactions of key indoor air pollutants, contains around 15,400 reactions and 4700 species. The results show a predicted indoor OH radical concentration up to 4.0×105 molecule cm−3, only a factor of 10–20 less than typically observed outdoors and sufficient for significant chemical cycling to take place. Concentrations of PAN-type species and organic nitrates are found to be important indoors, reaching concentrations of a few ppb. Sensitivity tests highlight that the most crucial parameters for modelling the concentration of OH are the light-intensity levels and the air exchange rate. Outdoor concentrations of O3 and NOX are also important in determining radical concentrations indoors. The reactions of ozone with alkenes and monoterpenes play a major role in producing new radicals, unlike outdoors where photolysis reactions are pivotal radical initiators. In terms of radical propagation, the reaction of HO2 with NO has the most profound influence on OH concentrations indoors. Cycling between OH and RO2 is dominated by reaction with the monoterpene species, whilst alcohols play a major role in converting OH to HO2. Surprisingly, the absolute reaction rates are similar to those observed outdoors in a suburban environment in the UK during the summer. The results from this study highlight the importance of tailoring a model for its particular location and the need for future indoor air measurements of radical species, nitrated species such as PANs and organic nitrates, photolysis rates of key species over the range of wavelengths observed indoors and concurrent measurements of outdoor air pollutant concentrations.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Hydroxyl radical; Ozone; VOCs; Indoor air pollution.
Institution: The University of York
Academic Units: The University of York > Environment (York)
Depositing User: York RAE Import
Date Deposited: 17 Aug 2009 16:01
Last Modified: 17 Aug 2009 16:01
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.atmosenv.2006.09.038
Status: Published
Publisher: Elsevier
Identification Number: 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2006.09.038
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/5684

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