Comparison of real-time instruments and gravimetric method when measuring particulate matter in a residential building

Zuocheng Wang, Leonardo Calderón, Allison P. Patton, Mary Ann Sorensen Allacci, Jennifer Senick, Richard Wener, Clinton J. Andrews, Gediminas Mainelis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This study used several real-time and filter-based aerosol instruments to measure PM2.5 levels in a high-rise residential green building in the Northeastern US and compared performance of those instruments. PM2.5 24-hr average concentrations were determined using a Personal Modular Impactor (PMI) with 2.5 µm cut (SKC Inc., Eighty Four, PA) and a direct reading pDR-1500 (Thermo Scientific, Franklin, MA) as well as its filter. 1-hr average PM2.5 concentrations were measured in the same apartments with an Aerotrak Optical Particle Counter (OPC) (model 8220, TSI, Inc., Shoreview, MN) and a DustTrak DRX mass monitor (model 8534, TSI, Inc., Shoreview, MN). OPC and DRX measurements were compared with concurrent 1-hr mass concentration from the pDR-1500. The pDR-1500 direct reading showed approximately 40% higher particle mass concentration compared to its own filter (n = 41), and 25% higher PM2.5 mass concentration compared to the PMI2.5 filter. The pDR-1500 direct reading and PMI2.5 in non-smoking homes (self-reported) were not significantly different (n = 10, R2 = 0.937), while the difference between measurements for smoking homes was 44% (n = 31, R2 = 0.773). Both OPC and DRX data had substantial and significant systematic and proportional biases compared with pDR-1500 readings. However, these methods were highly correlated: R2 = 0.936 for OPC versus pDR-1500 reading and R2 = 0.863 for DRX versus pDR-1500 reading. The data suggest that accuracy of aerosol mass concentrations from direct-reading instruments in indoor environments depends on the instrument, and that correction factors can be used to reduce biases of these real-time monitors in residential green buildings with similar aerosol properties. Implications: This study used several real-time and filter-based aerosol instruments to measure PM2.5 levels in a high-rise residential green building in the northeastern United States and compared performance of those instruments. The data show that while the use of real-time monitors is convenient for measurement of airborne PM at short time scales, the accuracy of those monitors depends on a particular instrument. Bias correction factors identified in this paper could provide guidance for other studies using direct-reading instruments to measure PM concentrations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1109-1120
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the Air and Waste Management Association
Volume66
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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    Wang, Z., Calderón, L., Patton, A. P., Sorensen Allacci, M. A., Senick, J., Wener, R., Andrews, C. J., & Mainelis, G. (2016). Comparison of real-time instruments and gravimetric method when measuring particulate matter in a residential building. Journal of the Air and Waste Management Association, 66(11), 1109-1120. https://doi.org/10.1080/10962247.2016.1201022