The fraction of outdoor aerosol that penetrates into indoor environments plays an important role in determining the contribution of outdoor particles to the total lung dose of particles in human exposure. The objective of this study was to investigate the physical processes affecting migration of outdoor traffic particles into indoor environments. Particle number size distributions were measured by a Fast Mobility Particle Sizer system in both indoor and outdoor environments of a house located in close proximity to a busy street in Bologna (Italy) in the period February-April 2012. Indoor to outdoor (I/O) ratios for submicron particle number concentrations showed strong dependence on particle size and meteorological conditions. The loss rates of particles due to deposition, coagulation and evaporation were determined using dynamic mass balance and coagulation models. Higher loss rates were found for small particles (nucleation and Aitken mode) indoors than for larger particles (accumulation mode). The coagulation and evaporation processes made a significant contribution to the loss of traffic nanoparticles indoors, especially during the day time. Application of Positive Matrix Factorization to the indoor and outdoor particle size distributions showed a substantial loss of traffic-generated nucleation mode particles in the indoor environment, with evaporation playing a major role.
- Particulate matter