Sampling Artifacts of Acidity and Ionic Species in PM2.5

Ravi Kant Pathak, Xiaohong Yao, Chak K. Chan

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112 Scopus citations


Although sampling artifacts of acidity, ammonium, nitrate, and chloride in airborne particulate pollutants can be reduced by the use of denuders to absorb interfering gases, artifacts due to interparticle interactions still remain. In this study, the contribution of individual artifact reactions to particle evaporation and the effects of aerosol composition on the extents of sampling artifacts in PM2.5 were investigated. Samples were collected using a Harvard honeycomb denuder/filter-pack system at an urban site and a rural site in Hong Kong. The results show that the formation of artifacts can be categorized into two regimes: ammonium rich (AR) samples with a molar ratio [NH4+]/[SO42-] greater than 1.5 and ammonium poor (AP) samples with a molar ratio [NH4 +]/[SO42-] less than or equal to 1.5. The urban samples were all AR samples, and they were characterized by high nitrate and low in situ free acid concentrations. In contrast, the rural samples were all AP samples and they were characterized by low nitrate and high in situ free acid concentrations. We have developed a methodology to estimate the contribution of each artifact reaction to the sampling loss of nitrate, chloride, ammonium, and acidity. In the AR samples, the evaporation of HNO 3 and HCl and concomitant evaporation of NH3 were the principal reactions in determining the extent of the sampling loss of nitrate and chloride. In the AP samples, the evaporation of HNO3 and HCl alone was the principal reaction instead, especially at high sampling loss. The in situ free acid concentration, a function of aerosol composition and ambient conditions, is a more useful parameter than strong acidity in understanding the sampling loss of acidity, nitrate, and chloride from the collected particles.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)254-259
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2004
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Generated from Scopus record by KAUST IRTS on 2023-07-06

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Chemistry


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