Convenient, Rapid and Accurate Measurement of SVOC Emission Characteristics in Experimental Chambers

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Chamber tests are usually used to determine the source characteristics of semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs) which are critical to quantify indoor exposure to SVOCs. In contrast to volatile organic compounds (VOCs), the sorption effect of SVOCs to chamber surfaces usually needs to be considered due to the much higher surface/air partition coefficients, resulting in a long time to reach steady state, frequently on the order of months, and complicating the mathematical analysis of the resulting data. A chamber test is also complicated if the material-phase concentration is not constant. This study shows how to design a chamber to overcome these limitations. A dimensionless mass transfer analysis is used to specify conditions for (1) neglecting the SVOC sorption effect to chamber surfaces, (2) neglecting the convective mass transfer resistance at sorption surfaces if the sorption effect cannot be neglected, and (3) regarding the material-phase concentration in the source as constant. Several practical and quantifiable ways to improve chamber design are proposed. The approach is illustrated by analyzing available data from three different chambers in terms of the accuracy with which the model parameters can be determined and the time needed to conduct the chamber test. The results should greatly facilitate the design of chambers to characterize SVOC emissions and the resulting exposure.