A passive air sampler for characterizing the vertical concentration profile of gaseous phase polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in near soil surface air

Yuzhong Zhang, Shuxing Deng, Yanan Liu, Guofeng Shen, Xiqing Li, Jun Cao, Xilong Wang, Brian Reid, Shu Tao

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30 Citations (Scopus)


Air–soil exchange is an important process governing the fate of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). A novel passive air sampler was designed and tested for measuring the vertical concentration profile of 4 low molecular weight PAHs in gaseous phase (PAHLMW4) in near soil surface air. Air at various heights from 5 to 520 mm above the ground was sampled by polyurethane foam disks held in down-faced cartridges. The samplers were tested at three sites: A: an extremely contaminated site, B: a site near A, and C: a background site on a university campus. Vertical concentration gradients were revealed for PAHLMW4 within a thin layer close to soil surface at the three sites. PAH concentrations either decreased (Site A) or increased (Sites B and C) with height, suggesting either deposition to or evaporation from soils. The sampler is a useful tool for investigating air–soil exchange of gaseous phase semi-volatile organic chemicals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)694-699
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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