Butenes and butadiene in urban air
Journal article, 1992
Samples of urban air hydrocarbons were taken on specifically made adsorbent cartridges and analysed by gas chromatography after thermal desorption. The four isomeric butenes and 1,3-butadiene were favourably resolved and separated from the abundant alkanes on an aluminium oxide PLOT column. The concentrations of butadiene, reflecting outdoor urban exposure, were in the range of 0.5-5 micrograms/m3. An approximate 1:4 ratio was observed between butadiene and propene which both originate predominantly from vehicle exhaust. The four butenes made up approximately 50% of the propene concentration in exhaust-polluted air, with methylpropene greater than 1-butene greater than trans-2-butene greater than cis-2-butene. Petrol vapour contributed less than exhaust but about five times more to the 2-butenes than to methylpropene and 1-butene. The highest exposure levels of butadiene and butenes were consistently observed in the vicinity of exhaust pipes and petrol-fuelled vehicles.