Recycling concrete: An undiscovered source of ultrafine particles

Kumar, Prashant & Morawska, Lidia (2014) Recycling concrete: An undiscovered source of ultrafine particles. Atmospheric Environment, 90, pp. 51-58.

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While concrete recycling is practiced worldwide, there are many unanswered questions in relation to ultrafine particle (UFP; Dp<100nm) emissions and exposure around recycling sites. In particular:

(i) Does recycling produce UFPs and in what quantities?

(ii) How do they disperse around the source?

(iii) What impact does recycling have on ambient particle number concentrations (PNCs) and exposure?

(iv) How effective are commonly used dust respirators to limit exposure?

We measured size-resolved particles in the 5-560 nm range at five distances from a simulated concrete recycling source and found that:

(i) the size distributions were multimodal, with up to ~93% of total PNC in the UFP size range; and

(ii) dilution was a key particle transformation mechanism.

UFPs showed a much slower decay rate, requiring ~62% more distance to reach 10% of their initial concentration compared with their larger counterparts. Compared with typical urban exposure during car journeys, exposure decay profiles showed up to ~5 times higher respiratory deposition within 10 m of the source. Dust respirators were found to remove half of total PNC; however the removal factor for UFPs was only ~57% of that observed in the 100-560 nm size range. These findings highlight a need for developing an understanding of the nature of the particles as well as for better control measures to limit UFP exposure.

Impact and interest:

15 citations in Scopus
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13 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 73117
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Ultrafine particles, Construction and demolition, Concrete waste recycling, Particle size distribution, Particle number exposure, Particle exposure mask
DOI: 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2014.03.035
ISSN: 1352-2310
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EARTH SCIENCES (040000) > ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES (040100) > Atmospheric Aerosols (040101)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES (050000) > ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE AND MANAGEMENT (050200) > Environmental Monitoring (050206)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENGINEERING (090000) > ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING (090700) > Environmental Engineering not elsewhere classified (090799)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Chemistry, Physics & Mechanical Engineering
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 Elsevier
Copyright Statement: This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Atmospheric Environment. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Atmospheric Environment, [VOL 90,(2014)] DOI: 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2014.03.035
Deposited On: 29 Jun 2014 23:39
Last Modified: 10 Jun 2016 09:52

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