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THE CHARACTERISATION OF SETTLED DUST BY SCANNING ELECTRON MICROSCOPY AND ENERGY DISPERSIVE X-RAY ANALYSIS

VAUGHAN SHILTON , PAUL GIESS, DAVID MITCHELL and CRAIG WILLIAMS

University of Wolverhampton, School of Applied Sciences, Wolverhampton, West Midlands, U.K. ( author for correspondence, e-mail: V.F.Shilton@wlv.ac.uk)

Abstract. Settled dust has been collected inside the main foyers of three University buildings in Wolverhampton City Centre, U.K. Two of the three buildings are located in a street canyon used almost exclusively by heavy duty diesel vehicles. The dust was collected on adhesive carbon spectro- tabs to be in a form suitable for analysis by scanning electron microscope and energy dispersive X-ray analysis. Using these analytical techniques, individual particle analysis was undertaken for morphology and chemistry. Seasonal variations and variations due to location were observed in both the morphological measurements and chemical analysis. Many of the differences appear attributable to the influence of road traffic, in particular, the heavy duty diesel vehicles, travelling along the street canyon.

Keywords: airborne particulate matter, diesel emissions, dust soiling, indoor dust, scanning electron microscope, settled dust

1.

Introduction

Air pollution caused by road traffic is an important factor when considering the appraisal of road schemes. This appraisal currently focuses on the road side con- centrations of traffic related pollutants, which are potentially harmful to human health or ecological systems. However, particulate vehicle emissions, especially from heavy duty diesel engines, can cause nuisance problems, including the soiling of buildings through the accumulation of dust (QUARG, 1996) and, may also, be partly responsible for sick building syndrome (Gyntelburg et al., 1994). The soiling of buildings on the outside due to traffic emissions is a well known occurrence (Smith and Warke, 1995). However, inside a building, in close proximity to a busy road, the rate of dust soiling and the composition of the settled dust has not received as much attention, although papers have been published in related areas (Brooks and Schwar, 1987; Ford and Adams, 1999; Raza et al., 1990; Williams and Mc- Crae, 1995). In terms of the nuisance that dust soiling causes indoors, factors such as the colour of the dust and the surface upon which the dust settles are likely to be important. As dust produced by traffic emissions tends to be darkly coloured and surfaces in commercial buildings are often light in colour, it may be assumed that

buildings are often light in colour, it may be assumed that Water, Air, and Soil Pollution:

Water, Air, and Soil Pollution: Focus 2: 237–246, 2002. © 2002 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands.

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relatively low levels of traffic derived dust can produce a serious soiling problem inside commercial buildings. This article introduces a method which can be used for the collection of settled dust in a form suitable for physical and chemical analysis by Scanning Electron Mi- croscope (SEM) and Energy Dispersive X-ray Analysis (EDX). Using this method the settled dust has been characterised chemically and morphologically. Three buildings have been used to investigate the variations in the chemistry and mor- phology of settled dust dependent upon location. In addition, seasonal variations have also been examined.

2. Materials and Methods

Settled dust was collected inside the main foyers of three University buildings located in the centre of Wolverhampton, U.K., and analysed by SEM (Camscan SV2) and EDX (Link Analytical). Dust soiling rates were also determined for each location, using a gravimetric method. All monitoring was carried out on a monthly basis for one year between November 1999 and October 2000. Exposure periods were for one calendar month beginning on the 15th of each month, for example, the exposure for the month of November would be between 15 November and 14 December. The foyers are located at ground level and are similar in terms of size and the degree of usage by students and staff. Buildings 1 and 2 are located on either side of the main approach road to the city’s primary bus station. This road is, therefore, used by several thousand heavy duty diesel buses each day. The road is closed to other vehicles, so the buses contribute almost 100% of the traffic using the road. Traffic is held up at traffic lights at one end of the road regularly causing queues of vehicles idling outside the two buildings. Four and five storey buildings on both sides of the road produce a small street canyon effect which may impede the dispersion of traffic related emissions. Previous work has demonstrated that high concentrations of airborne particulate matter exist both inside and immediately outside these two buildings (Giess, 1998). Building 3 is located approximately 300 m away from the other two buildings in a different road and is not within a street canyon. This road is only occasionally used by heavy duty diesel vehicles and does not carry high traffic flows. The measurement of dust soiling rates was achieved by using 5 pre-weighed glass microscope slides coated in a thin, even layer of grease (petroleum jelly) to prevent the removal of dust from the slide during collection, transport and sub- sequent weighing. To ensure an even layer of grease the slide was gently heated until the grease had melted evenly over the slide surface. Post-weighing of the slides enabled the determination of dust soiling rates in mg m 2 day 1 . Control slides left in dust free enclosures open to the air demonstrated that there was no significant weight loss due to evaporation or drying of the grease, with this loss