Indoor ozone/human chemistry and ventilation strategies
Journal article, 2019

This study aimed to better understand and quantify the influence of ventilation strategies on occupant-related indoor air chemistry. The oxidation of human skin oil constituents was studied in a continuously ventilated climate chamber at two air exchange rates (1 h-1 and 3 h-1 ) and two initial ozone mixing ratios (30 and 60 ppb). Additional measurements were performed to investigate the effect of intermittent ventilation ("off" followed by "on"). Soiled t-shirts were used to simulate the presence of occupants. A time-of-flight-chemical ionization mass spectrometer (ToF-CIMS) in positive mode using protonated water clusters was used to measure the oxygenated reaction products geranyl acetone, 6-methyl-5-hepten-2-one (6-MHO) and 4-oxopentanal (4-OPA). The measurement data were used in a series of mass balance models accounting for formation and removal processes. Reactions of ozone with squalene occurring on the surface of the t-shirts are mass transport limited; ventilation rate has only a small effect on this surface chemistry. Ozone-squalene reactions on the t-shirts produced gas-phase geranyl acetone, which was subsequently removed almost equally by ventilation and further reaction with ozone. About 70% of gas-phase 6-MHO was produced in surface reactions on the t-shirts, the remainder in secondary gas-phase reactions of ozone with geranyl acetone. 6-MHO was primarily removed by ventilation, while further reaction with ozone was responsible for about a third of its removal. 4-OPA was formed primarily on the surfaces of the shirts (~60%); gas-phase reactions of ozone with geranyl acetone and 6-MHO accounted for ~30% and ~10%, respectively. 4-OPA was removed entirely by ventilation. The results from the intermittent ventilation scenarios showed delayed formation of the reaction products and lower product concentrations compared to continuous ventilation.

indoor environment

air exchange rate


oxygenated volatile organic compounds




Christian Mark Salvador

University of Gothenburg

G. Beko

Technical University of Denmark (DTU)

Charles J. Weschler

Rutgers University

Technical University of Denmark (DTU)

Glenn Morrison

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Michael Le Breton

University of Gothenburg

Mattias Hallquist

University of Gothenburg

Lars Ekberg

Building Services Engineering

CIT Energy management AB

Sarka Langer

Chalmers, Architecture and Civil Engineering, Building Services Engineering

IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute

Indoor Air

0905-6947 (ISSN) 1600-0668 (eISSN)

Vol. 29 6 913-925

Subject Categories

Chemical Process Engineering

Other Chemical Engineering

Other Chemistry Topics





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