Geochemical characteristics of participate matter in the atmosphere surrounding a ceramic industrialized area

E. T. Gómez, T. Sanfeliu, M. M. Jordán, J. Rius, C. De La Fuente

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    Total suspended participate samples (TSP) were collected and concentrations measured during seventeen months in the vicinity of a ceramic industrial area. A method of fractionating was applied to the samples in order to obtain two fractions corresponding to mineral particulate coming from dust emissions (Upper-F fraction) and to amorphous matter (carbon plus small amounts of S, Ca, Fe, etc) coming mainly from traffic and other combustion processes. Also for TSP samples several element concentrations were measured following two previous treatments: extraction of elements mainly associated with the soluble fraction of the samples (B, Fe, P, As, NO2-, NH4+, Cl -, F) and acid digestion for trace metals and elements mainly associated with the non-soluble fractions of the samples (Fe, As, Cd, Ni, Pb, Zn Ca). Seasonal differences and the influence of meteorological parameters (temperature, relative humidity, pressure and wind conditions) on the air pollution levels, particles as well as ions, were studied. Results show different seasonal and weekly evolution for mineral and amorphous carbonaceous particles because of the different origins in dust emissions or combustion processes respectively, and the different physical properties such as size grain. Of the ions analyzed Fe, Ca and Zn were clearly associated to mineral phases and consequently related to dust emissions, and NO2-, NH4+, P, Cl- were related to amorphous matter coming from combustion. Ni and Cd show lower levels than those reported as guideline values and the source is mainly related to the enrichment of these elements in clay materials. B and As content result in elevated concentrations, with the tendency to increase during cold months. The emission of these elements was associated with vaporization or volatilization during high temperature ceramic processes. The original gaseous state is influenced by temperature. In the winter the content for B and As is higher due to enhanced condensation of gas-phase boron onto particles, while in the summer the increase of air temperature results in elevated evaporation.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)536-543
    JournalEnvironmental geology
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2004


    • Air pollution
    • Amorphous matter
    • Mineral matter
    • Particulate matter
    • Spanish ceramic industry


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