Integrating the Thermal Behavior and Optical Properties of Carbonaceous Particles: Theory, Laboratory Studies, and Application to Field Data

EPA Grant Number: R831085
Title: Integrating the Thermal Behavior and Optical Properties of Carbonaceous Particles: Theory, Laboratory Studies, and Application to Field Data
Investigators: Bond, Tami C.
Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
EPA Project Officer: Chung, Serena
Project Period: September 1, 2003 through August 31, 2006 (Extended to August 31, 2008)
Project Amount: $247,815
RFA: Measurement, Modeling, and Analysis Methods for Airborne Carbonaceous Fine Particulate Matter (PM2.5) (2003) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Air , Air Quality and Air Toxics , Particulate Matter


Monitoring relies on thermal/optical measurement techniques to assess the types of carbonaceous particles in ambient air and in emissions from combustion sources. At present, different commercial analyzers give different results. Some of these differences may be explained by examining the behavior of the particles as they are heated during analysis. Our objectives are: (1) improving the confidence limits of combined thermal/optical transitions of specific fractions of primary carbonaceous aerosols; (2) confirming to 95% confidence that elemental carbon can be treated as a conserved tracer; and (3) demonstrating enhanced interpretations of thermal/optical analyses of carbonaceous particles for an existing database of field measurements.


We will review quantitatively the impacts of optical artifacts on results of thermal/optical analysis, measure realistic particles generated and processed under controlled conditions and interpret their combined thermal and optical behavior, and develop and apply new insights to a data from an intensive field campaign.

Expected Results:

We expect to achieve an increase in the credibility of the thermal/optical analysis method or delineation of its range of applicability. We will also develop new analysis procedures that can be applied to large existing databases. These results will lead to a greater understanding of the types of carbonaceous particles in the atmosphere, the sources of carbonaceous particles, and their impacts on global climate. This understanding will contribute to a more cost-effective allocation of state environmental protection resources by identifying properties and sources of the particles with the greatest impact on air quality and climate.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 19 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 5 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

ambient air, tropospheric, global climate, environmental chemistry, analytical, measurement methods., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Air, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Air Quality, particulate matter, air toxics, Environmental Chemistry, Air Pollution Effects, Monitoring/Modeling, Analytical Chemistry, Environmental Monitoring, Atmospheric Sciences, Engineering, Chemistry, & Physics, Environmental Engineering, carbon aerosols, air quality modeling, particle size, atmospheric particulate matter, health effects, particulate organic carbon, aerosol particles, atmospheric particles, chemical characteristics, PM 2.5, air modeling, air quality models, airborne particulate matter, air sampling, thermal desorption, carbon particles, air quality model, emissions, particulate matter mass, ultrafine particulate matter, particle phase molecular markers, aersol particles, modeling studies, thermal properties, particle dispersion, aerosol analyzers, measurement methods, chemical speciation sampling

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2004 Progress Report
  • 2005 Progress Report
  • 2006 Progress Report
  • 2007
  • Final Report