Air Quality

Between July 5th and 15th, the Air Quality Research Lab ran on-road vehicle chasing experiments in order to investigate how pollutants released from quickly moving vehicles mix with the surrounding air.  Prof. Peter Taylor’s generously loaned SUV was oufitted with a sonic anemometer to measure wind speed and turbulence, a Licor open-path high-speed sampler to measure CO2 and water vapour, and a UHSAS aerosol sizer, which counts and sizes airbourne particles with diameters between 70 nm and 1 micron.  A dash-cam was used to determine the distance to the vehicle being followed (typically heavy-duty tractor-trailers, buses, or SUVs), and also to provide GPS for the calculation of position, speed, and orientation.  Software to triangulate the distance from the videos was specially developed by PhD student Julien Li-Chee-Meng (Prof. Costas Armenakis).

MSc student Stefan Miller (supervised by Prof. Mark Gordon and Prof. Rob Mclaren) leads the investigation and is responsible for operating the instruments during the drives.  Analysis of this unique data set (possibly the first attempt at on-road CO2 and particle fluxes from vehicles on the highway) will help us understand how the mixing of vehicle emissions are enhaced by the turbulence that moving vehicles create.  It may also allow us to track the high-speed evolution of particulate emissions.  Driving support was provided by MSc student Sepehr Fathi (M. Gordon) and RA Zheng Qi Wang (P. Taylor). LURA student Brandon Loy (M. Gordon) provided help with installation and set up.



by M. Gordon