Yanzhao Hao1, Shunxi Deng 2,4, Yan Yang3,4, Wenbin Song5, Hui Tong4, Zhaowen Qiu1

School of Automobile, Chang’an University, Xi’an 710064, China
Key Laboratory of Subsurface Hydrology and Ecological Effect in Arid Region of Ministry of Education, Chang’an University, Xi’an 710064, China
Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences, Beijing 100012, China
School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Chang’an University, Xi’an 710054, China
Xi’an Environmental Protection Bureau, Xi’an 710054, China

Received: April 13, 2018
Revised: July 6, 2018
Accepted: September 17, 2018
Download Citation: ||https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.2018.04.0131  

Cite this article:
Hao, Y., Deng, S., Yang, Y., Song, W., Tong, H. and Qiu, Z. (2019). Chemical Composition of Particulate Matter from Traffic Emissions in a Road Tunnel in Xi’an, China. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 19: 234-246. https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.2018.04.0131


  • Sulfur (S) was the most abundant element in the PM.
  • Three sources of elements were distinguished in the tunnel environment.
  • Emissions of OC, EC changed with the reverse slopes in the two tunnel bores.
  • Elements related to road dust/brake wear were mainly affected by the road slope.
  • The content of Br was mainly affected by the proportion of diesel vehicles.


Chemical compositions of particulate matter (PM) from traffic emissions vary by region and with time. Therefore, it is necessary to obtain local mobile source profiles of PM to support regional researches for vehicle emission control policy, source apportionment modeling, etc. In this study, PM2.5 and PM10 samples were collected from a highway tunnel in Xi’an in northwestern China. The chemical composition, specifically, the OC, EC, water-soluble ions, and elements, was analyzed in detail to (1) provide local PM profiles for a mixed vehicle fleet, (2) identify the origins of different elements in the tunnel environment, and (3) determine the associated factors influencing the profiles. The PM2.5 profiles in the tunnel were identified as OC (34.10%), EC (11.96%), water-soluble ions (18.22%), and elements (27.73%), while the PM10 profiles included OC (28.48%), EC (8.59%), water-soluble ions (14.17%), and elements (33.36%), respectively. The origins of the elements in the tunnel were classified into three categories by the receptor modeling approach: resuspended road dust and brake wear, vehicle exhaust and tire wear, and tailpipe emissions from diesel vehicles (DV). The mass fractions of OC, EC, and elements originating from resuspended road dust and brake wear were mainly affected by vehicle driving conditions (i.e., uphill/downhill and speed), whereas the mass content of bromine (Br) was influenced by the proportion of DV in the fleet.

Keywords: Traffic emissions; PM2.5; PM10; Source profile; Road tunnel.


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