Characterization of PGEs and Other Elements in Road Dusts and Airborne Particles in Houston, Texas

  • Shankararaman ChellamEmail author
  • Ayşe Bozlaker
Part of the Environmental Science and Engineering book series (ESE)


It is imperative to quantify a wide range of elements in order to rigorously apportion the myriad sources of airborne particulate matter especially in industrialized urban environments. Herein, our recently reported analytical method that is optimized for the measurements of Rh, Pd, and Pt alongside numerous representative, transition, and lanthanoid elements is described. We also implemented the newly developed technique for the detailed elemental analysis of several tunnel dusts, surface road dusts, and airborne particulate matter collected in the greater Houston, Texas area. Rh, Pd and Pt were highly enriched in dusts swept from the road surface of the Washburn Tunnel averaging 152 ± 52, 770 ± 208 and 529 ± 130 ngg−1 respectively. Their concentrations were significantly lower in surface road dusts with Rh, Pd, and Pt ranging only between 5.9–8.4, 33.0–88.2, and 90.8–131 ngg−1. Average Rh, Pd, and Pt concentrations in ambient aerosols were 1.5, 11.1, and 4.5 pgm−3 in PM2.5 and 3.8, 23.1, and 15.1 pgm−3 in PM10, respectively. Rh, Pd, and Pt levels were elevated in the air inside the Washburn Tunnel reaching 12.5, 91.1, and 30.1 pgm−3 in PM2.5 and 36.3, 214, and 61.1 pgm−3 in PM10, respectively. These are amongst the first such detailed measurements in the United States and represent our efforts to rigorously quantify particulate pollution emanating from light-duty vehicles.


Surface Road Road Dust Airborne Particulate Matter Road Dust Sample Polyatomic Species 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Portions of this work were funded by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the Texas Air Research Center, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, and the Environmental Institute of Houston. Nick Spada assisted in certain aspects of this work.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringUniversity of HoustonHoustonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Chemical and Biomolecular EngineeringUniversity of HoustonHoustonUSA

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