An approach to monitor the fraction of elemental carbon in the ultrafine aerosol

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Attempts were made to measure the fraction of elemental carbon (EC) in ultrafine aerosol by modifying an Ambient Carbonaceous Particulate Monitor (ACPM, R&P 5400). The main modification consisted in placing a quartz filter in one of the sampling lines of this dual-channel instrument. With the filter all aerosol and EC contained in it is collected, while in the other line of the instrument the standard impactor samples only particles larger than 0.14 μm. The fraction of EC in particles smaller than 0.14 μm is derived from the difference in concentration as measured via the two sampling lines. Measurements with the modified instrument were made at a suburban site in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. An apparent adsorption artefact, which could not be eliminated by the use of denuders, precluded meaningful evaluation of the data for total carbon. Blanks in the measurements of EC were negligible and the EC data were hence further evaluated. We found that the concentration of EC obtained via the channel with the impactor was systematically lower than that in the filter-line. The average ratio of the concentrations was close to 0.6, which indicates that approximately 40% of the EC was in particles smaller than 0.14 μm. Alternative explanations for the difference in the concentration in the two sampling lines could be excluded, such as a difference in the extent of oxidation. This should be a function of loading, which is not the case. Another reason for the difference could be that less material is collected by the impactor due to rebound, but such bounce of aerosol is very unlikely in The Netherlands due to co-deposition of abundant deliquesced and thus viscous ammonium compounds. The conclusion is that a further modification to assess the true fraction of ultrafine EC, by installing an impactor with cut-off diameter at 0.1 μm, would be worth pursuing. © 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.






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Ten Brink, H, G Hoek and A Khlystov (2005). An approach to monitor the fraction of elemental carbon in the ultrafine aerosol. Atmospheric Environment, 39(33). pp. 6255–6259. 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2005.07.016 Retrieved from

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