Size‐resolved analysis of fine and ultrafine fractions of indoor particulate matter using energy dispersive X‐ray fluorescence and electron microscopy

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EarlyView Article

  • Published: Sep 21, 2017
  • Author: Nasser M. Hamdan, Hussain Alawadhi, Najeh Jisrawi, Mohamad Shameer
  • Journal: X-Ray Spectrometry

We used a multistage PIXE inertial impactor with nine different aerodynamic diameter ranges (between 16 and 0.06 μm) to sample indoor particulate matter (PM). X‐ray fluorescence (XRF) measurements performed at cutoff diameters (CoDs) of 0.25, 0.5, 1, 2, 4, and 8 μm were used to identify elements in various size fractions. Anthropogenic sources were the dominant sources for fine and ultrafine particle sizes. The XRF results show that natural sources also contribute to the fine and ultrafine fractions of pollutants. Scanning electron microscopy and energy‐dispersive system analysis were performed on membranes having PM CoDs of 4, 2, 1, 0.5, and 0.25 μm. Elemental mappings show the membranes with PM of CoDs 0.25 and 0.5 μm having S as a dominant element, confirming the results obtained with XRF. Strong correlation among maps of S, N, and O show that ammonium sulfate is the major constituent at these size fractions. Other elements such as Si, Ca, Fe, Al, and Mg show up in smaller amounts at these size fractions but increase for membranes with larger particles. For size fractions larger than 0.5 μm, there is a good correlation between the elemental maps of these elements and oxygen, indicating that these elements exist mostly in oxide forms. The absence of clear N signals and the correlation between the Ca and S maps indicate that S in these size fractions is not due to ammonium sulfate. The presence of Mg, K, Cl, and Na at these CoDs shows that these elements are due to salts originating from sea breeze.

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