Air ion concentrations under overhead power lines
Ling, Xuan, Jayaratne, Rohan, & Morawska, Lidia (2009) Air ion concentrations under overhead power lines. In Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Environmental Science and Technology 2009 (CEST 2009), Curran Associates, Inc., Chania, Crete, Greece, pp. 2065-2069.
Corona discharge is responsible for the flux of small ions from overhead power lines, and is capable of modifying the ambient electrical environment, such as the air ion concentrations at ground level. Once produced, small ions quickly attach to aerosol particles in the air, producing ‘large ions’, approximately 1 nm to 1 µm in diameter. However, very few studies have measured air ion concentrations directly near high voltage transmission lines. The present study involved the simultaneously measurement of small ion concentration and net large ion concentration using air ion counters and an aerosol electrometer at four power line sites.
Both positive and negative small ion concentration (<1.6nm), net large ion concentration (2nm-5μm) and particle number concentration (10nm-2μm) were measured using air ion counters and an aerosol electrometer at four power line sites. Measurements at sites 1 and 2 were conducted at both upwind and downwind sides. The results showed that total ion concentrations on the downwind side were 3-5 times higher than on the upwind side, while particle number concentrations did not show a significant difference. This result also shows that a large number of ions were emitted from the power lines at sites 1 and 2.
Furthermore, both positive and negative ions were observed at different power line sites. Dominant positive ions were observed at site 1, with a concentration of 4.4 x 103 ions cm-3, which was 10 times higher than on the upwind side. Contrary to site 1, sites 2 to 4 showed negative ion emissions, with concentrations of -1.2 x 103, -460 and -410 ions cm-3, respectively. These values were higher than the background urban negative ion concentration of 400 cm-3. At site 1 and site 2, the net ion concentration and net particle charge concentration on downwind side of the lines showed same polarities. Further investigations were also conducted into the correlation between net ion concentration and net charge particle concentration 20 m downwind of the power lines at site 2. The two parameters showed a correlation coefficient of 0.72, indicating that a substantial number of ions could attach to particles and affect the particle charge status within a short distance from the source.
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