Characterization of traffic-related particulate matter emissions in a road tunnel in Birmingham, UK: Trace metals and organic molecular markers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • Department of Environmental Health Sciences
  • University of Massachusetts - Amherst, Amherst, Massachusetts 01003, USA
  • King Abdulaziz University, Department of Environmental Sciences, Center of Excellence in Environmental Studies, Jeddah 21589, Saudi Arabia

Abstract

Road traffic is one of the key sources of particulate matter (PM) in urban areas, and an understanding of the chemical composition of traffic emissions is important for source apportionment analysis. In this study, PM samples were collected simultaneously in a road tunnel and at a background site in Birmingham (UK) and analysed for a suite of elemental and organic species (hopanes, alkanes and PAH) with an aim to characterize the vehicular emissions in a tunnel environment and to prepare a composite mixed fleet profile for PM2.5 traffic emissions. Large enrichment was observed for many organic and elemental species in the case of the tunnel samples with respect to the background site. The tunnel samples show a large enrichment of trace elements relative to the urban background with a mode at ca. 3 μm in the mass size distribution, indicative of emissions resulting from resuspension/abrasion sources. Cu, Ba and Sb were found to have the characteristic non-exhaust (brake wear) emission peaks in the coarse size range in the tunnel. A composite PM2.5 traffic profile was prepared using the data from the two sites, and was compared against previously reported profiles. The profile was also compared against other traffic profiles from Europe and USA, and was found to be very similar to the previouslyreported PM2.5 composite traffic profile from the UK. However, the uncertainties associated with the species were found to be much lower in the case of the tunnel profile from this study, and we conclude that this profile would be very suitable for use in Chemical Mass Balance Model analyses for the UK and other countries with a similar road traffic fleet mix.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-130
Number of pages14
JournalAerosol and Air Quality Research
Volume17
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017

Keywords

  • Europe, Molecular markers, Road tunnel, Source profile, Traffic

ASJC Scopus subject areas