Identification of brake wear particles and derivation of a quantitative tracer for brake dust at a major road

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle



Traffic-generated air pollutant emissions can be classified into exhaust and non-exhaust emissions. Increased attention is focussing on non-exhaust emissions as exhaust emissions are progressively limited by regulations. To characterise metal-rich emission from abrasion processes, size-segregated analysis of atmospheric aerosol particles sampled with micro-orifice uniform deposit impactors (MOUDI) in March 2007 in London was performed. The samples were collected at a roadside and a background site and were analysed for Al, Ba, Cu, Fe, Sb, Ti, V, Zn, Ca2+, K+, Mg2+, Na+, and NH4+ Most components showed a clear roadside increment, which was evident as a higher mass concentration and a change in the size distribution. In particular, Fe, Cu, Ba, and Sb correlated highly, indicative of a common traffic-related source. Using complementary information on the fleet composition, vehicle number and average speed, the brake wear emission was calculated using the EMEP/CORINAIR emission database. The total PM10 and barium emission of the traffic was determined by ratio to NOx whose source strength was estimated from published emission factors. Barium was found to comprise 1.1% of brake wear (PM10) particles from the traffic fleet as a whole, allowing its use as a quantitative tracer of brake wear emissions at other traffic-influenced sites. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-146
Number of pages6
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010


  • Urban roadside, Barium, Size-segregated analysis, Brake wear, Trace metals, London