Cite this article: Tian, Z., Dietze, V., Sommer, F., Baum, A., Kaminski, U., Sauer, J., Maschowski, C., Stille, P., Cen, K. and Gieré, R. (2017). Coarse-Particle Passive-Sampler Measurements and Single-Particle Analysis by Transmitted Light Microscopy at Highly Frequented Motorways.
Aerosol Air Qual. Res.
17: 1939-1953. https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.2017.02.0064
Fully automated transmitted light microscopy with single-particle characterization.
PM concentration vs. seasonal meteorological parameters and traffic characteristics.
Quantitative determination of precipitation impact on the particle load.
Field measurements consistent with results from former laboratory studies.
Measuring and characterizing airborne particulate matter (PM) is an important research area because PM can lead to impacts on health and to visibility reduction, material damage and groundwater pollution. In regard to road dust, suspension and re-suspension and the contribution of non-exhaust PM to total traffic emissions are expected to increase as a result of predicted climate scenarios. European environmental regulations have been enforced to reduce exhaust particle emissions from road traffic, but little attention has been paid to reducing non-exhaust coarse particle emissions due to traffic. Therefore, a monitoring program for coarse PM has been initiated in early 2013 to assess the predicted increase in the abundance of non-exhaust particles. Particle sampling was performed with the passive-sampler technique Sigma-2. The subsequent single-particle analysis allows for characterization of individual particles, determination of PM size distribution, and calculation of PM mass concentrations. Two motorways near Cologne (Köln), Germany were selected as sampling sites, and the experimental setup in the field was realized with a so-called twin-site method. The present study reports single-particle analysis data for samples collected between May 31, 2013 and May 30, 2014. Coarse PM, generated through multi-source mechanisms, consists of, e.g., tire-wear, soot aggregates, and mineral dust. The highest mass concentration occurs at both motorways in spring, and the observed PM mainly contains traffic-abrasion particles. The field measurements show that the minimum PM concentration was found in the 5 to 12°C temperature range, whereas the maximum concentration was observed in both the –5 to 5°C and the 12 to 24°C ranges, in agreement with previous laboratory measurements. Correlation between super-coarse (dp 10–80 µm, geometric equivalent diameter) PM concentration and precipitation displays a significant increase in concentration with decreasing number of precipitation events (dry weather periods).