An experimental study of relative humidity effect on VOCs' effective diffusion coefficient and partition coefficient in a porous medium

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45 Scopus citations

Abstract

Most building materials are porous media. As a critical environmental factor, the influence of relative humidity on VOCs diffusion is still not well understood. In this study, VOC transport and sorption in a porous medium in the building materials (calcium silicate) were measured under three levels of relative humidity (25%, 50% and 80%) by using a dynamic dual chamber method. Tests were conducted for water-soluble compound (formaldehyde) and non-soluble compound (toluene). In addition, the transport of acetaldehyde, hexanal, benzaldehyde, butanol and decane through the calcium silicate were also tested at 50%RH to study the relationship between the effective diffusion coefficient (De), partition coefficient (Kma) and the VOCs' physical properties (molecular weight, vapor pressure and Henry's law constant). Experimental results showed that: relative humidity in the 80%RH led to a higher partition coefficient for formaldehyde compared to 50%RH. However, between 25% and 50%RH, there was no significant difference in partition coefficient. Partition coefficient of toluene decreased with the increase of humidity due to competition of water molecules for pore surface area and the non-solubility nature of toluene. Relative humidity had no significant influence on the effective diffusion coefficient on both formaldehyde and toluene for the range of moisture conditions tested. The solubility of VOCs was found to correlate with the partition coefficient of VOCs. The partition coefficient of VOCs was not simply inversely proportional to the vapor pressure of the compound, but also increased with the increase of Henry's law constant.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1785-1796
Number of pages12
JournalBuilding and Environment
Volume46
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2011

Keywords

  • Dynamic dual chamber
  • Henry's law constant
  • Partition coefficient
  • Relative humidity
  • VOCs diffusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Building and Construction

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