Measurements of VOC adsorption/desorption characteristics of typical interior building materials

Y. An, J. S. Zhang, C. Y. Shaw

Research output: Contribution to journalConference Articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The adsorption/desorption of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) on interior building material surfaces (i.e., the sink effect) can affect the VOC concentrations in a building, and thus need to be accounted for in an indoor air quality (IAQ) prediction model. In this study, the VOC adsorption/desorption characteristics (sink effect) were measured for four typical interior building materials including carpet, vinyl floor tile, painted drywall, and ceiling tile. The VOCs tested were ethylbenzene, cyclohexanone, 1,4-dichlorobenzene, benzaldehyde, and dodecane. These five VOCs were selected because they are representative of hydrocarbons, aromatics, ketones, aldehydes, and chlorine substituted compounds. The first order reversible adsorption/desorption model was based on the Langmuir isotherm was used to analyze the data and to determine the equilibrium constant of each VOC-material combination. It was found that the adsorption/desorption equilibrium constant, which is a measure of the sink capacity, increased linearly with the inverse of the VOC vapor pressure. For each compound, the adsorption/desorption equilibrium constant, and the adsorption rate constant differ significantly among the four materials tested. A detailed characterization of the material structure in the micro-scale would improve the understanding and modeling of the sink effect in the future. The results of this study can be used to estimate the impact of sink effect on the VOC concentrations in buildings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)PA/-
JournalASHRAE Transactions
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes
Event2000 ASHRAE Winter Meeting - Dallas, TX, USA
Duration: Feb 5 2000Feb 9 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Building and Construction
  • Mechanical Engineering


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