Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 185, Issue 5, pp 3819–3829 | Cite as

A physicochemical model of sorption processes in NO2 passive sampling with air humidity effects

  • V. A. Poddubny
  • N. A. Yushketova


Aqueous triethanolamine (TEA) solutions are widely used as sorption medium for passive sampling of ambient NO2, with NO2 trapped and accumulated as nitrite ion. The results of test measurements of ambient NO2 concentrations using passive sampling method showed that the simple approach commonly used to describe passive sampling process might lead to substantial systematic errors. Presented in the article is a new physicochemical model of the process of passive sampling of gaseous NO2, with aqueous TEA solution used as a trapping medium. The model is based on the available results of experimental studies of interaction of gaseous NO2 with TEA/water solutions. The key principles underlying the model are: (1) when absorbed by a trapping solution, NO2 forms nitrite ion only on the condition that TEA is hydrated; (2) coefficient of conversion of NO2 to NO 2 is equal to one when reacting with hydrated TEA; and (3) the fraction of hydrated TEA molecules depends on air humidity at the moment of measurement. Validation of the model was made using the data of the field measurements carried out in the Middle Urals in 2007–2009. The new model was used to calculate average NO2 concentrations. Concentrations calculated agreed well with the results obtained by reference methods. The difference between the datasets was statistically insignificant.


Nitrogen dioxide Air pollution monitoring Passive sampling Diffusion tube Aqueous triethanolamine solution NO2/NO2 conversion Physicochemical model 



The authors are very thankful to O.A. Bannikova and Ye.V. Yelovsikh (Sverdlovsk Regional Center for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring, Yekaterinburg, Russia) and N.S. Volberg (Voeikov Main Geophysical Observatory, Saint-Petersburg, Russia) for interest in our work and help. Special thanks to M. Gerboles (EU Joint Research Center, Ispra, Italy) for having supplied us with a batch of passive sampling devices. The assistance of Sverdlovsk Regional Center for Ecological Monitoring and Control (Pervouralsk and Verkhnyaya Pyshma) in the provision of access to the sampling sites and continuous analyzer data is gratefully acknowledged. Special thanks to our colleagues V.N. Shershnev for having helped with statistical analysis of the data and having participated in the discussion of the work and to V.F. Gopko for valuable critical remarks and discussion of the results.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Industrial Ecology of the Ural Division of Russian Academy of SciencesEkaterinburgRussia

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