PTR-MS systems for indoor air quality monitoring

Room-air VOC detection and monitoring. Measurement of most common VOCs causing smells or health effects. Real-time monitoring of emissions related to the Sick Building Syndrome. Ozone induced reactions in aircraft cabins.

VOCs are emitted by normal household products, construction materials, wall-paints, carpets, and furniture. Many of which are known to be harmful to human health or at least to cause unpleasant odors. Chemical contamination of indoor air is a contributing factor to the so called 'Sick Building Syndrome'.

Levels of VOC exposure vary widely depending on the volume of air in the room, the car, the plane, the office building, the workplace etc. and may range from sub-pptv levels to percent. Different materials have specific rates of VOC emissions. The ventilation of the room as well as the outdoor air concentration have to be taken into account too.

Results of PTR-MS measurements - indoor air quality levels

Most of the common VOCs relevant for the indoor air quality are easily quantifiable with PTR-MS (detection limit as low as 1 pptv) such as Benzene, Toluene, Xylene and many other harmful substances having an impact on health or being perceptable as a malodor.

PTR-MS can help to ensure better air quality through analyzing the air polluting VOCs in real-time. The IONICON team can design a solution tailored to your monitoring needs, with a one-button user-interface on a touchscreen display, customized to the substances your are interested in.

Scientists have conducted studies to analyze the ozone-initiated chemistry in an occupied simulated aircraft cabin using a IONICON PTR-MS. A recent study by Weschler et al.* suggests interactions between skin oils and ozone, leading to chemical byproducts that might have impact on nasal irritation, headaches, dry eyes and lips and other common air traveler complaints.

In a reconstructed section of a B-767 aircraft containing human occupants, ozone was added to cabin air during simulated 4-hour flights. Most byproducts were derived from surface reactions with occupants and their clothing. Among the measured VOCs were nonanal and decanal, a pair of aldehyde compounds associated with headaches, nasal irritation and with others symptoms of 'sick building' syndrome. The study may have implications on future passenger comfort as it might influence the industry to install and maintain filter solutions in all commercial aircraft and to conduct further studies monitoring the relevant VOCs continuously.