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Radiation modeling of a photo-reactor using a backward ray-tracing method: an insight into indoor photocatalytic oxidation


This article aims to understand the radiation behavior within a photo-reactor, following the ISO 22197-1:2007 standard. The RADIANCE lighting simulation tool, based on the backward ray-tracing modeling method, is employed for a numerical computation of the radiation field. The reflection of the glass cover in the photo-reactor and the test sample influence the amount of irradiance received by the test-sample surface in the photo-reactor setup. The reflection of a white sample limits the irradiance reduction by the glass cover to 1.4 %, but darker samples can lead to an overestimation up to 9.8 % when used in the same setup. This overestimation could introduce considerable error into the interpretation of experiments. Furthermore, this method demonstrates that the kinetics for indoor photocatalytic pollutant degradation can be refined through radiation modeling of the reactor setup. In addition, RADIANCE may aid in future modeling of the more complex indoor environment where radiation affects significantly photocatalytic activity.

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Variable (Latin):

Description (standard unit)

C :

Correction parameter (–)

E :

Irradiance (watts per square meter)

k :

Rate constant, reaction rate related (per second or per second per pascal or cubic meters per second per mole)

K :

Rate constant, sorption related (cubic meters per mole or lumens per watt)

L :

Radiance (watts per square meter per steradian)

r :

Reaction rate per surface catalyst (moles per square meter per second)

S :

Specular component (–)

x :

Distance in the x direction or general variable (meters or –)

y :

Distance in the y direction or general variable (meters or –)

α :

Rate constant, irradiance related (moles per watt per second)

β :

Rate constant (moles per square meter per second)

λ :

Wavelength (meters)

σ :

Reflection coefficient (–)

τ :

Transmission coefficient (–)

ϕ :

Total radiance flux (watts)

ψ :

Viewing angle (degrees)

θ :

Viewing angle (degrees)


Solid angle (steradians)



c :



A property of the catalyst


A property of the glass

l :

Light source

n :

Value obtained through n simulation runs

m :

Value obtained through measurement

X :

At grid point X


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The authors wish to express their gratitude to the following sponsors of the building materials research group at TU Eindhoven: Rijkswaterstaat Grote Projecten en Onderhoud, Graniet-Import Benelux, Kijlstra Betonmortel, Struyk Verwo, Attero, Enci, Provincie Overijssel, Rijkswaterstaat Zee en Delta - District Noord, Van Gansewinkel Minerals, BTE, Alvon Bouwsystemen, V.d. Bosch Beton, Selor, Twee “R” Recycling, GMB, Schenk Concrete Consultancy, Geochem Research, Icopal, BN International, APP All Remove, Consensor, Eltomation, Knauf Gips, Hess AAC Systems, Kronos, and Joma (in chronological order of joining).

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Correspondence to Q. L. Yu.

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Responsible editor: Bingcai Pan

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Pelzers, R.S., Yu, Q.L. & Mangkuto, R.A. Radiation modeling of a photo-reactor using a backward ray-tracing method: an insight into indoor photocatalytic oxidation. Environ Sci Pollut Res 21, 11142–11154 (2014).

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  • Ray tracing
  • Photocatalytic oxidation
  • Kinetic model
  • Reactor
  • Indoor environment
  • Radiation