Sorption of organic gases in residential rooms

Publication Type

Journal Article



Experiments were conducted to characterize organic gas sorption in residential rooms studied ‘‘as-is'' with furnishings and material surfaces unaltered and in a furnished chamber designed to simulate a residential room. Results are presented for 10 rooms (five bedrooms, two bathrooms, a home office, and two multi-function spaces) and the chamber. Exposed materials were characterized and areas quantified. A mixture of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) was rapidly volatilized within each room as it was closed and sealed for a 5-h Adsorb phase; this was followed by 30-min Flush and 2-h closed-room Desorb phases. Included were alkane, aromatic, and oxygenated VOCs representing a range of ambient and indoor air pollutants. Three organophosphorus compounds served as surrogates for Sarin-like nerve agents. Measured gas-phase concentrations were fit to three variations of a mathematical model that considers sorption occurring at a surface sink and potentially a second, embedded sink. The 3-parameter sink–diffusion model provided acceptable fits for most compounds and the 4-parameter two-sink model provided acceptable fits for the others. Initial adsorption rates and sorptive partitioning increased with decreasing vapor pressure for the alkanes, aromatics and oxygenated VOCs. Best-fit sorption parameters obtained from experimental data from the chamber produced best-fit sorption parameters similar to those obtained from the residential rooms.


Atmospheric Environment



Year of Publication



Research Areas