Mass and number size distributions of particulate matter components : comparison of an industrial site and an urban background site

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Colleges, School and Institutes


Size-resolved composition of particulate matter (PM) sampled in the industrial town of Port Talbot (PT), UK was determined in comparison to a typical urban background site in Birmingham (EROS). A Micro-Orifice Uniform Deposit Impactor (MOUDI) sampler was deployed for two separate sampling campaigns with the addition of a Grimm optical spectrometer at the PT site. MOUDI samples were analysed for water-soluble anions (Cl-, NO3- and SO42-) and cations (Na+, NH4+, K+, Mg2+ and Ca2+) and trace metals (Al, V, Cr, Mn, Fe, Cu, Zn, Sb, Ba and Pb). The PM mass distribution showed a predominance of fine particle (PM¬2.5) mass at EROS whereas the PT samples were dominated by the coarse fraction (PM2.5-10). SO42-, Cl-, NH4+, Na+, NO3-, and Ca2+ were the predominant ionic species at both sites while Al and Fe were the metals with highest concentrations at both sites. Mean concentrations of Cl-, Na+, K+, Ca2+, Mg2+, Cr, Mn, Fe and Zn were higher at PT than EROS due to industrial and marine influences. The contribution of regional pollution by sulphate, ammonium and nitrate was greater at EROS relative to PT. The traffic signatures of Cu, Sb, Ba and Pb were particularly prominent at EROS. Overall, PM at EROS was dominated by secondary aerosol and traffic-related particles while PT was heavily influenced by industrial activities and marine aerosol. Profound influences of wind direction are seen in the 72-hour data, especially in relation to the PT local sources. Measurements of particle number in 14 separate size bins plotted as a function of wind direction and speed are highly indicative of contributing sources, with local traffic dominant below 0.5 µm, steelworks emissions from 0.5-15 µm, and marine aerosol above 15 µm.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-38
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Early online date11 Jan 2014
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2014


  • Particle size distribution, chemical composition, urban background, steelworks, impactor