Air

Regulatory compliance

The air that we breathe

We talk about 300 000 m3 air on average that pass through a person‘s respiratory system in a lifetime. In this way, impurities directly enter our lungs. International standards are an important means to control air quality, both outdoor and indoor. Metrohm instruments and applications are in line with numerous international standards (e.g., ISO, ASTM, DIN) for air analysis.

> Have a look at our selection of standard-compliant methods!

Air quality: Most cities fail to meet WHO guidelines

Poor air quality in most of world‘s cities

The good news is that more and more cities recognise the importance of air quality and therefore increase monitoring density. The bad news is that in most big cities the thresholds for health-harmful pollution levels defined by the “WHO Air quality guidelines“ are by far exceeded. With MARGA, Metrohm offers you a semicontinuous monitoring tool for key air pollutants: particulate matter (PM), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and sulfur dioxide (SO2).


> Learn more about MARGA!

Saccharidic tracers from air filter sampling

Filter methods for analysing particulate matter in line to
DIN EN 12341

Particulate matter contained in the air is collected on filters. After filter extraction, the extract is analysed using ion chromatography (IC) and/or voltammetry (VA).

Saccharidic tracers indicate biomass combustion and biogenic processes

The anhydrosugars levoglucosan, mannosan, and galactosan are produced when cellulose and hemicellulose are burnt. They act as tracers for the combustion of biomass. By contrast, the sugar alcohols arabitol and mannitol are tracer substances for biogenic processes. (e.g., mannitol from fungi fling spores). Thus, concentration profiles of these tracers in atmospheric aerosols offer the possibility of source apportionment.
IC determines several tracers in one single run

After IC separation, the tracers are determined down to the ng/m3 level by pulsed amperometric detection (PAD). The method needs no derivatization and can easily be automated. It is ideal for routine analysis with large sample series.

Semicontinuous analysis of ions in aerosols by PILS-IC and PILS-IC-VA

Continuous, more precise, and no sample preparation: PILS

The Particle-into-Liquid Sampler facilitates continuous sampling. Depending on the coupled analyser, semicontninuous measurements are possible every 15 (IC) and 30 (VA) minutes. This high time resolution allows changes in the aerosol composition to be correlated with meteorological data. Furthermore, there is no need for complicated and error-prone manual sample preparation and no hassle of storing samples.

Particle-into-Liquid Sampler (PILS)

In the Particle-into-Liquid Sampler (PILS) the ions in the aerosol meet a supersaturated water vapour phase. They grow into droplets and are continuously transported to the analyser(s).
Cadmium, lead, zinc, copper, nickel, cobalt in aerosols by PILS-VA

The coupling of PILS to the 797 VA Computrace allows semicontinuous determination of various heavy metals (Cd, Pb, Zn, Cu, Ni, Co) in particulate matter. The high time resolution picks up even the smallest changes in chemical composition.

Parallel coupling to ion chromatography and voltammetry

In PILS-IC-VA, the particles brought into solution are conveyed in three streams to a two-channel ion chromatograph for anion and cation determination and to a voltammetric measuring stand for determination of the heavy metal ions.


Air measurements
PILS coupled to VA

Semicontinuous voltammetric determination of heavy metal concentrations (Cd, Pb, and Cu) in air samples. Metal concentrations steadily increase over several days until it starts to rain.

PILS
PILS coupled to IC and VA

Semicontinuous IC analysis of the anion and cation concentrations (below) and VA analysis of the heavy metal concentrations (top) in air samples from Herisau (Switzerland). To simulate contamination events, sparklers that had been previously immersed in heavy metal salt solutions were burnt.


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Further applications and products

Simultaneous monitoring of gases and aerosols – MARGA

Besides ions in aerosols, MARGA (Monitor for AeRosols & Gases in Ambient Air) analyses the composition of the water-soluble gas phase. A MARGA system provides exact results every hour. Because the system can work for days on end without the addition of new solutions, MARGA is ideal for field use in remote regions.

Application Finder MARGA product information Process Analytics Applications

From greenhouse gas to a source of carbon

Reducing the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is a worldwide target. One promising approach is using this CO

as a raw material source, e.g., to synthesise raw materials for fuels or chemicals. The principle is a formal reversal of combustion according to the photosynthesis model. In the process, COis reduced by electrical direct current in the presence of various catalysts to produce reactive carbon monoxide or methanol. The PGSTAT 302N potentiostat/galvanostat makes it possible to track the reactions taking place on the catalyst surfaces and thereby provides an indispensable tool for optimizing the catalysts.

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Testimonial: Institute Marine Meteorology

"MARGA excels by its capability of automated data acquisition as well as calculating and storing of results. Whenever we encounter problems, their [Metrohm's] service is professional and in time."

The Institute of Tropical and Marine Technology in Southern China studies the influence of aerosols and gases on the climate and air quality in the Pearl River delta. To this end,they use the MARGA system from Metrohm Process Analytics.