Articles online

Generation Characteristics of Nanoparticles Emitted from Subways in Operation

Category: Urban Air Quality

Article In Press
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2017.11.0439
RIS | BibTeX

Yongil Lee1,2, Kyomin Choi1,2, Wonseog Jung1,2, Michael E. Versoza2,3, Mona Loraine M. Barabad2,3, Taesung Kim1, Duckshin Park 2

  • 1 SungKyunKwan University, Jangan-gu, Suwon 04763, Korea
  • 2 Korea Railroad Research Institute, Woram-dong, Uiwang 16105, Korea
  • 3 University of Science and Technology, Yuseong, Daejeon 34113, Korea


Nanoparticles measured at 1-s intervals in subway tunnel and under cabin.
Nanoparticles generated from wheel and rail contact surface.
Wear particles have bimodal estimates at the size distribution of 165.5 and 6.98 nm.


In this study, measurements were carried out to identify the generation characteristics of wear particles emitted under a subway cabin during operation. Along with a fast mobility particle sizer, probes were installed under a subway cabin and in a subway tunnel to measure the size distributions of nanoparticles at 1-s intervals. Based on the particle density measured under the cabin minus that measured in the tunnel, the size distribution of wear particles generated under the cabin during deceleration was estimated to be bimodal at 165.5 nm and 6.98 nm. These particles were most likely generated from wheel–rail contact, as the train utilized electric braking (no mechanical force applied). In addition, a change in the wear mechanism appears to have arisen due to the increased temperature of the wheel–rail contact while nanoparticles were being emitted, leading to an initial generation of 165.5-nm particles followed by 6.98-nm particles 1 s later.


Nanoparticle size distribution Urban railway Wear particle Wheel-rail contact

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DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2017.11.0452