Generation of sub-micron particles and secondary pollutants from building materials by ozone reaction

Taisuke Aoki*, Shin ichi Tanabe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


This study reports results from two different experiments examining reactions between ozone and common building materials that can lead to the formation of secondary products and particulate-phase materials. Monitored species include sub-micron particles and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). In the first set of experiments, various building materials were placed in a 20 L stainless-steel chamber and exposed to ozone. The materials included expanded polystyrene, a natural rubber adhesive, cedar board, Japanese Cyprus board and silver fir board, as well as d-limonene, which is a known constituent of certain woods and cleaning products. The combination of ozone and either d-limonene, cedar board or cypress board produced sub-micron particles, with most of the increase occurring in the size range of 0.01-0.5 μ m diameter. This was not observed for the other materials. In the case of cedar board, the consequence of ozone exposure over an extended time interval was monitored. As the exposure time elapsed, the concentration of sub-micron particles moderately decreased. In the second set of experiments, unwaxed or waxed plastic tiles were placed in the 20 L chamber and exposed to ozone. Sub-micron particles and organic compounds were measured during the course of the experiments. In the case of the waxed tile, the number of 0.01-1.0 μ m size particles grew about 50 × 108 particles m- 3; particle growth was significantly less for the un-waxed tile. For both the waxed and un-waxed tiles, the emission rates of heptane, nonane, nonanal, and decanal increased after ozone was added to the supply air. (However, it is not clear if some or all of this production was due to ozone reacting with the sorbent used for sampling or with compounds captured by the sorbent.) This study provides further evidence that ozone-initiated reactions with building materials can be a significant source of both sub-micron particles and secondary organic compounds in indoor environments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3139-3150
Number of pages12
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 2007 May


  • Floor waxing
  • Indoor chemistry
  • Limonene
  • Secondary organic aerosol
  • Secondary product

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Atmospheric Science


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