Sorption of organic gases in a furnished room

Publication Type

Journal Article



We present experimental data and semi-empirical models describing the sorption of organic gases in a simulated indoor residential environment. Two replicate experiments were conducted with 20 volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in a 50-m3 room finished with painted wallboard, carpet and cushion, draperies and furnishings. The VOCs span a wide volatility range and include ten Hazardous Air Pollutants. VOCs were introduced to the static chamber as a pulse and their gas-phase concentrations were measured during a net adsorption period and a subsequent net desorption period. Three sorption models were fit to the measured concentrations for each compound to determine the simplest formulation needed to adequately describe the observed behavior. Sorption parameter values were determined by fitting the models to adsorption period data then checked by comparing measured and predicted behavior during desorption. The adequacy of each model was evaluated using a goodness of fit parameter calculated for each period. Results indicate that sorption usually does not greatly affect indoor concentrations of methyl-tert-butyl ether, 2-butanone, isoprene and benzene. In contrast, sorption appears to be a relevant indoor process for many of the VOCs studied, including C8-C10 aromatic hydrocarbons (HC), terpenes, and pyridine. These compounds sorbed at rates close to typical residential air change rates and exhibited substantial sorptive partitioning at equilibrium. Polycyclic aromatic HCs, aromatic alcohols, ethenylpyridine and nicotine initially adsorbed to surfaces at rates of 1.5 to >6 h-1 and partitioned 95 to >99% in the sorbed phase at equilibrium.


Atmospheric Environment



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Research Areas