Contributions of Coagulation, Deposition, and Ventilation to the Removal of Airborne Nanoparticles in Indoor Environments

Su Gwang Jeong, Lance Wallace, Donghyun Rim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Airborne nanoparticles are frequently released in occupied spaces due to episodic indoor source activities. Once generated, nanoparticles undergo aerosol transformation processes such as coagulation and deposition. These aerosol processes lead to changes in particle concentration and size distribution over time and accordingly affect human exposure to nanoparticles. The present study establishes a framework for an indoor particle dynamic model that can predict time- and size-dependent particle concentrations after episodic indoor emission events. The model was evaluated with six experimental data sets obtained from previous measurement studies in the literature. The indoor particle dynamic model quantified the relative contributions of three particle loss mechanisms (i.e., coagulation, deposition, and ventilation) to the total reduction in number concentration. The results show that particle coagulation and indoor surface deposition are two dominant processes responsible for temporal changes in particle size and concentration following indoor emission events. The first-order equivalent coagulation loss rate notably varies with indoor emission source and accounts for up to 59% of the total particle loss for burning a candle, 42% for broiling a fish, and 10% for burning incense. The results reveal that while the coagulation loss rate changes markedly with the particle concentration and source type, the deposition loss rate is more dependent on particle size. Compared to coagulation and deposition, the effect of ventilation is marginal for most of the nanoparticle emission events indoors; however, ventilation loss becomes pronounced with the decrease of particle concentration below 5 × 104 cm-3, especially for particles larger than 100 nm in aerodynamic diameter.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9730-9739
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 20 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry


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