Physical sciences, Earth sciences

Better air quality in Europe

An EU-funded project broke down the boundaries amongst research institutions in atmospheric chemistry, offering access to the network facilities to a wider range of researchers.

Particulate matter or aerosols are one of the key problems for increasing air quality in Europe. Field studies and modelling work alone are not adequate for studying atmospheric processes. However, simulation chambers offer a unique opportunity to further enhance understanding toward this field.

Initial advances in large chamber development had first occurred in the United States and Japan. Yet, Europe is now the leader in the use of large, highly instrumented chambers for atmospheric model development and evaluation. Smaller chambers operated by experts in their fields have been supplementing excellently larger chambers. The integration of all these environmental chamber facilities within the context of the EU-funded project 'Integration of European simulation chambers for investigating atmospheric processes - part 2' (EUROCHAMP-2) promoted the retention of Europe's international position of excellence.

In total, 14 project partners developed a grid of environmental chambers for studying atmospheric processes. These research facilities were created to study the impact on regional photochemistry, global change, cultural heritage and human health under representative atmospheric conditions.

EUROCHAMP-2 led to developing novel and refine existing analytical devices of environmental chambers to successfully detect atmospheric trace species. These included volatile organic compounds, inorganic trace gases and free radicals. Another focus was to characterise aerosol particles to understand their role in atmospheric processes.

Besides optimising existing devices, a number of analytical devices needed to be completely redesigned or used for the first time in conjunction with an environmental chamber. Highly specific equipment were developed in a mobile form to facilitate their transportation to a certain chamber and used in selected experiments independently of location.

EUROCHAMP-2 worked on techniques for generating aerosols with well-defined physical properties to perform particle ageing, transformation and freezing experiments. Furthermore, it provided techniques to characterise aerosols in such experiments concerning their physical and chemical properties.

Within EUROCHAMP, each chamber set up its database for storing experimental data. The fruitful collaboration between partners resulted in a number of scientific publications, presentations at scientific conferences and PhDs.

last modification: 2015-03-06 15:35:25

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