Internal air quality of the Comandante Ferraz Antarctic Station (EACF) and its relationship with building materials and human activities

Name: Erica Coelho Pagel
Type: PhD thesis
Publication date: 04/12/2015

Namesort descending Role
Neyval Costa Reis Jr. Advisor *

Examining board:

Namesort descending Role
Cristina Engel de Alvarez Co advisor *
Jane Meri Santos Internal Examiner *
Neyval Costa Reis Jr. Advisor *
Taciana Toledo de Almeida Albuquerque Internal Examiner *

Summary: A number of studies have been carried out on the environmental impact of research stations on the Antarctic continent. However, the assessment of indoor air quality in these confined environments has been neglected. Antarctic buildings are characterized as cloistered architectures in which users remain for long periods of time, making them a potential object of investigation in the Indoor Air Quality (IAQ). This research aimed at characterizing and quantifying aldehydes, particulate matter and fungi in the indoor air of Comandante Ferraz Antarctic Station (EACF), as well as relating the results with the likely pollutant emission sources stemmed from building materials and human activities, proposing control methods to enhance the performance of IAQ for future buildings on the continent. Passive samplers were used to collect aldehydes, of which determination and quantification were carried out through High-Efficiency Liquid Chromatography. The number and mass concentration of particles inside the Station was examined, and so was their size distribution through a Portable Aerosol Spectrometer. The particulate matter with diameter lower than 2.5 μm (PM2,5) was collected in Teflon® filters through low-volume samplers aiming at chemical and morphological analyzes. The collection of fungi was made in Petri dishes with suitable culture medium using a one-stage Andersen impactor and the identification of colonies was done by using macro and micromorphology methods. The results have shown that the average internal concentration of the total amount of aldehydes was recorded above the concentration found in urban areas, unlike the average concentration of particles and fungi that were below those. Furniture and plywood coverings may have contributed to the high concentration of formaldehyde (130.94 μg/m³). The act of cooking resulted in substantial medium acrolein concentrations (43.79 μg/m³) in most of the monitored areas. It was possible to identify the influence of individual processes such as incineration, cooking, movement of persons, by means of particle size number concentration. Na, K, Cl, Fe, Zn, Si and S were the main elements detected. The significant presence of Fe particles may be associated with the intense corrosion process of the metal containers that make up the Station. Likewise, the relevant concentration of Zn particles can be associated with the emission from the solvent-based ink of the metallic walls of the building. High levels of Black Carbon (BC) were registered in the workshop, which may be associated with the use of diesel vehicles. Indoor / Outdoor relations (I/O) for the TSP, PM10, PM2.5 and measured PM1 were significantly higher than those reported for urban buildings. The compartments affected by combustion processes tend to show a significant number of submicron particles. The vast amount of Aspergillus versicolor and Penicillium sp species shows that there are potential means of fungal proliferation inside the Station, associated with the entrainment of those by the inhabitants in their clothes and utensils with continuous growth as such species find ideal conditions for survival inside the Station. Bearing in mind that the aspects observed at EACF are similar to the architecture found in other Antarctic buildings, it can be affirmed that the elimination or reduction of the main sources of air pollution through the sectorization of spaces; the use of materials, products and equipment with low or zero emissivity and the adoption of an efficient system of air renewal are measures of paramount importance in the design of Antarctic buildings.

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