Ozone transport to and removal in porous materials with applications for low-energy indoor air purification

Gall, Elliott Tyler
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In the U.S. and other developed countries, humans spend the vast majority of their time within the built environment. As a result, a substantial portion of our collective exposure to airborne pollutants, even those of outdoor origin, occurs in indoor environments. In addition, building construction materials and operational practices are changing as we endeavor to reduce the energy burden of the built environment. These changes result in barriers and opportunities in mitigating exposure to indoor pollutants and the accompanying implications for human health. This dissertation advances knowledge regarding low-energy control of indoor ozone. Ozone is often considered a pollutant of outdoor concern. However, ozone in indoor environments presents important challenges regarding exposure, intake, and chemistry in the built environment. The investigations in this dissertation extend the state understanding of indoor transport and transformation of ozone, and the potential for using material-surface interactions in buildings to suppress concentrations of indoor ozone. The first objective relates to the determination of magnitudes of ozone removal and product emissions at room or building scales. This objective provides new data on reactive uptake and product generation in large-scale environments, develops Monte Carlo models describing indoor ozone removal by materials in homes, and compares active and passive methods of indoor ozone removal. The second objective addresses the need to develop improved air cleaning materials through experiments and modeling that address material-ozone reactions in porous materials. This objective advances the state of modeling heterogeneous reactive uptake of ozone by characterizing material physical properties and transport phenomena, determining their impact on ozone removal, and using these data to develop a more mechanistic model of material-ozone reactions. Ultimately, these investigations advance the engineering concepts that support the development of passive indoor pollutant controls, an important tool for reducing concentrations of indoor pollutants while supporting low-energy building initiatives. The combination of experimental characterization of ozone deposition velocities and product emission rates, whole-building Monte Carlo modeling, and mechanistic material/pollutant models provide important new data and approaches that expand the state of knowledge of the fate and transport of reactive pollutants in indoor environments.