Kavita Justus Mutuku1, Yen-Yi Lee This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.2,3, Guo-Ping Chang-Chien2,3Sheng-Lun Lin4, Wei-Hsin Chen  5,6,7, Wen-Che Hou1 

1 Department of Environmental Engineering, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan 70101, Taiwan
2 Super micro mass research and technology center, Cheng Shiu University, Kaohsiung 833, Taiwan
3 Center for Environmental Toxin and Emerging-Contaminant Research, Cheng Shiu University, Kaohsiung 833, Taiwan
4 School of Mechanical Engineering, Beijing Institute of Technology, Beijing 100081, China
5 Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan 70101, Taiwan
6 Research Center for Smart Sustainable Circular Economy, Tunghai University, Taichung 407, Taiwan
7 Department of Mechanical Engineering, National Chin-Yi University of Technology, Taichung 411, Taiwan

Received: November 10, 2020
Revised: December 27, 2020
Accepted: December 27, 2020

 Copyright The Author(s). This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are cited.

Download Citation: ||https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.200624  

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Cite this article:

Mutuku, K.J., Lee, Y.Y., Chang-Chien, G.P., Lin, S.L., Chen, W.H., Hou, H.C. (2021). Chemical Fingerprints for PM2.5 in the Ambient Air near a Raw Material Storage Site for Iron Ore, Coal, Limestone, and Sinter. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 21, 200624. https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.200624


  • PM2.5 concentrations; 14–18 and 45–48 µg m–3 for summer and winter, respectively.
  • The quota of water-soluble ions in total PM2.5; 54.2% in summer and 49.2% in winter.
  • Major water-soluble ions for summer and winter are SO42– and NO3 respectively.
  • The main components in the raw material piles by mass; Ca2+, C, SO42–, Fe and Ca2+.
  • Primary PM2.5 sources in the study area; stationary sources, mobile sources and SOA.


To understand the contributions of a raw material storage site for iron ore, coal, limestone, and sinter to ambient air fine particulate matter (PM2.5), the concentrations and chemical fingerprints for resuspended and ambient air PM2.5 were compared. Investigations were done for 15 piles of raw materials, including 5 iron piles, 5 coal piles, 3 stone piles, and a single pile each for coke and sinter. Additionally, four sites, including A, B, C, and D, in the storage site surroundings were chosen to investigate the ambient air PM2.5 concentrations. The concentrations, compositions, and i and j values for PM2.5 varied significantly by season in the four sites under investigation. The chemical fingerprints of the PM2.5 showed that water-soluble ions were the most important component in all sites. Specifically, SO42 and NO3 were the predominant water-soluble ions in winter and summer, respectively. The most dominant components in the iron ore, coal, limestone, coke, and sinter piles were iron, carbon, Ca2+ and carbon, carbon and SO42, and Fe and Ca2+, respectively. During the summer, PM2.5 concentrations ranged from 13.7–18.0 µg m3, where the chemical composition of water-soluble ions, metals, carbon accounted for 54.2%, 5.7%, and 23.7% respectively. During winter, the concentrations ranged from 44.7–48.0 µg m3, where the water-soluble ions, metals, carbon components accounted for 49.2%, 8.1%, and 17.4% respectively. From the chemical mass balance, the main sources of PM2.5 in sites B, C, and D were stationary sources, mobile sources, and secondary organic aerosols. To effectively address the air pollution threat associated with the surroundings of a raw material storage site, the environmental protection agency should formulate measures to effectively reduce the contribution of resuspended dust and other pollution sources to ambient air PM2.5.

Keywords: PM2.5, Chemical fingerprints, Raw materials, Re-suspension, Seasonal variation

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