Water-soluble inorganic ions in airborne particulates from the nano to coarse mode: a case study of aerosol episodes in southern region of Taiwan
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- Chang, LP., Tsai, JH., Chang, KL. et al. Environ Geochem Health (2008) 30: 291. doi:10.1007/s10653-007-9122-0
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In 2004, airborne particulate matter (PM) was collected for several aerosol episodes occurring in the southern region of Taiwan. The particulate samples were taken using both a MOUDI (Micro-orifice Uniform Deposit Impactor) and a nano-MOUDI sampler. These particulate samples were analyzed for major water-soluble ionic species with an emphasis to characterize the mass concentrations and distributions of these ions in the ambient ultrafine (PM0.1, diameter <0.1 μm) and nano mode (PMnano, diameter <0.056 μm) particles. Particles collected at the sampling site (the Da-Liao station) on the whole exhibited a typical tri-modal size distribution on mass concentration. The mass concentration ratios of PMnano/PM2.5, PM0.1/PM2.5, and PM1/PM2.5 on average were 1.8, 2.9, and 71.0%, respectively. The peak mass concentration appeared in the submicron particle mode (0.1 μm < diameter <1.0 μm). Mass fractions (percentages) of the three major water-soluble ions (nitrate, sulfate, and ammonium) as a group in PMnano, PM0.1, PM1, and PM2.5 were 18.4, 21.7, 50.0, and 50.7%, respectively. Overall, results from this study supported the notion that secondary aerosols played a significant role in the formation of ambient submicron particulates (PM0.1−1). Particles smaller than 0.1 μm were essentially basic, whereas those greater than 2.5 μm were neutral or slightly acidic. The neutralization ratio (NR) was close to unity for airborne particles with diameters ranging from 0.18 to 1 μm. The NRs of these airborne particles were found strongly correlated with their sizes, at least for samples taken during the aerosol episodes under study. Insofar as this study is exploratory in nature, as only a small number of particulate samples were used, there appears to be a need for further research into the chemical composition, source contribution, and formation of the nano and ultrafine mode airborne particulates.