Predicting the emission rate of volatile organic compounds from vinyl flooring

Publication Type

Journal Article

Date Published



A model for predicting the rate at which a volatile organic compound (VOC) is emitted from a diffusion- controlled material is validated for three contaminants (n-pentadecane, n-tetradecane, and phenol) found in vinyl flooring (VF). Model parameters are the initial VOC concentration in the material-phase (C0), the material/air partition coefficient (K), and the material-phase diffusion coefficient (D). The model was verified by comparing predicted gas-phase concentrations to data obtained during small-scale chamber tests, and by comparing predicted material-phase concentrations to those measured at the conclusion of the chamber tests. Chamber tests were conducted with the VF placed top side up and bottom side up. With the exception of phenol, and within the limits of experimental precision, the mass of VOCs recovered in the gas phase balances the mass emitted from the material phase. The model parameters (C0, K, and D) were measured using procedures that were completely independent of the chamber test. Gas- and material-phase predictions compare well to the bottom-side-up chamber data. The lower emission rates for the top-side-up orientation may be explained by the presence of a low-permeability surface layer. The sink effect of the stainless steel chamber surface was shown to be negligible.


Environmental Science & Technology



Year of Publication






Short Title

Environ. Sci. Technol.