1999 Progress Report: Characterization of the Chemical Composition of Atmospheric Ultrafine Particles

EPA Grant Number: R827354C001
Subproject: this is subproject number 001 , established and managed by the Center Director under grant R827354
(EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).

Center: Airborne PM - Rochester PM Center
Center Director: Oberd√∂rster, G√ľnter
Title: Characterization of the Chemical Composition of Atmospheric Ultrafine Particles
Investigators: Cass, Glen , Prather, Kimberly A.
Current Investigators: Cass, Glen , Prather, Kimberly A. , Hopke, Philip K. , Dillner, Ann
Institution: Georgia Institute of Technology , University of California - Riverside
Current Institution: Georgia Institute of Technology , Arizona State University - Main Campus , Clarkson University , University of California - Riverside
EPA Project Officer: Chung, Serena
Project Period: June 1, 1999 through May 31, 2005 (Extended to May 31, 2006)
Project Period Covered by this Report: June 1, 1999 through May 31, 2000
RFA: Airborne Particulate Matter (PM) Centers (1999) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Air Quality and Air Toxics , Particulate Matter , Air


Research on the characterization of urban ultrafine and accumulation mode particles will allow compositional analysis in real time of single particles. The objective of this research project is to greatly expand the understanding of the chemical composition of ultrafine particles, both in the atmosphere and in source emissions.

Progress Summary:

During the first year of this research, efforts have progressed on two fronts. Dr. Prather's group has undertaken the design of an aerosol time of flight mass spectrometer that is capable of measuring the chemical composition of single atmospheric particles at particle sizes smaller than 100 nm particle diameter. At the same time, Dr. Cass' group has proceeded to extract and analyze data on ultrafine particle chemical composition from previous field experiments conducted between 1995 and 1997.

Ultrafine particle samples collected by inertial separation on the lower stages of cascade impactors during experiments conducted in 1995-1997 have been analyzed to determine a material balance on the chemical composition of such samples. Measurements of ultrafine particle mass concentration made in seven Southern California cities show that ultrafine particle concentrations in the size range 0.056-0.1 m aerodynamic diameter average 0.55-1.16 g m3. The chemical composition of these ultrafine particle samples averages 50 percent organic compounds, 14 percent trace metal oxides, 8.7 percent elemental carbon, 8.2 percent sulfate, 6.8 percent nitrate, 3.7 percent ammonium ion (excluding one outlier), 0.6 percent sodium, and 0.5 percent chloride. The most abundant catalytic metals measured in the ultrafine particles are Fe, Ti, Cr, Zn, with Ce also present. A source emissions inventory constructed for the South Coast Air Basin that surrounds Los Angeles shows a primary ultrafine particle emissions rate of 13 metric tons per day. Those ultrafine particle primary emissions arise principally from mobile and stationary fuel combustion sources and are estimated to consist of 65 percent organic compounds, 7 percent elemental carbon, 7 percent sulfate, 4 percent trace elements, with very small quantities of sodium, chloride, and nitrate. This information should assist the community of inhalation toxicologists in the design of realistic exposure studies involving ultrafine particles.

Future Activities:

The new ultrafine particle aerosol time of flight mass spectrometer instrument is under construction at present at University of California-Riverside. Completion is expected this summer. Thereafter, there will be a series of shakedown tests to assess system performance. Atmospheric field experiments involving Dr. Prather's group and Dr. Cass' group will begin thereafter.

Journal Articles on this Report : 1 Displayed | Download in RIS Format

Other subproject views: All 30 publications 30 publications in selected types All 29 journal articles
Other center views: All 104 publications 98 publications in selected types All 90 journal articles
Type Citation Sub Project Document Sources
Journal Article Cass GR, Hughes LA, Bhave P, Kleeman MJ, Allen JO, Salmon LG. The chemical composition of atmospheric ultrafine particles. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London Series A-Mathematical Physical & Engineering Sciences 2000;358(1775):2581-2592. R827354 (2004)
R827354 (Final)
R827354C001 (1999)
R827354C001 (2000)
R827354C001 (Final)
R832415 (2010)
R832415 (2011)
R832415 (Final)
  • Abstract: Royal Society Publishing-Abstract
  • Supplemental Keywords:

    pollution prevention, atmosphere, particulates, metals, sensitive population., RFA, Health, Scientific Discipline, Air, Geographic Area, particulate matter, Environmental Chemistry, Health Risk Assessment, Epidemiology, State, Risk Assessments, Biochemistry, ambient air quality, particle size, particulates, sensitive populations, cardiopulmonary responses, chemical characteristics, fine particles, human health effects, morbidity, ambient air monitoring, pulmonary disease, susceptible populations, epidemelogy, particle exposure, environmental health effects, nano differential mobility analyzer, human exposure, chemical kinetics, particulate exposure, Texas (TX), PM, mortality, urban environment, aerosols, chemical speciation sampling, human health risk

    Relevant Websites:

    http://www2.envmed.rochester.edu/envmed/pmc/indexpmc.html Exit

    Progress and Final Reports:

    Original Abstract
  • 2000 Progress Report
  • 2001 Progress Report
  • 2002 Progress Report
  • 2003 Progress Report
  • 2004 Progress Report
  • Final Report

  • Main Center Abstract and Reports:

    R827354    Airborne PM - Rochester PM Center

    Subprojects under this Center: (EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).
    R827354C001 Characterization of the Chemical Composition of Atmospheric Ultrafine Particles
    R827354C002 Inflammatory Responses and Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Susceptible Populations
    R827354C003 Clinical Studies of Ultrafine Particle Exposure in Susceptible Human Subjects
    R827354C004 Animal Models: Dosimetry, and Pulmonary and Cardiovascular Events
    R827354C005 Ultrafine Particle Cell Interactions: Molecular Mechanisms Leading to Altered Gene Expression
    R827354C006 Development of an Electrodynamic Quadrupole Aerosol Concentrator
    R827354C007 Kinetics of Clearance and Relocation of Insoluble Ultrafine Iridium Particles From the Rat Lung Epithelium to Extrapulmonary Organs and Tissues (Pilot Project)
    R827354C008 Ultrafine Oil Aerosol Generation for Inhalation Studies