Sep. 27, 2006 Scientists at the University of Hertfordshire are assessing 'hidden' particles in the air that we breathe and are developing methods to measure them.
According to Professor Ranjeet Sokhi, Head of the University's Atmospheric Science Research Group (ASRG), current assessment methods for predicting air particles have not fully taken into account certain categories of air particles which do not come from vehicle exhausts. These include those from worn tyres, brakes and road surfaces. As a result current predictions of air pollution can be inaccurate.
Professor Sokhi commented: "A large proportion of air particles come from sources such as exhausts and construction processes, but there are other sources connected with traffic that are missing which means that there is a gap between what we can currently predict and what is being measured."
As a result, Professor Sokhi has been awarded £55,000 by the BOC Foundation to assess other sources of air particles and to recommend how their measurement can be implemented into the assessment procedures.
The researchers will conduct their research in sites such as the Hatfield Tunnel to estimate the contribution made by these non-exhaust sources.
Professor Sokhi commented: "We need to know what is coming into the atmosphere. At the moment, we need a better understanding of what fraction of air particles are coming from vehicle exhausts and other sources. The finer particles get into people's lungs so finding out about them is vital."
Notes for editor Professor Ranjeet Sokhi is Head of the Atmospheric Science Research Group (ASRG) with the University's Science and Technology Research Institute. His research interests are: atmospheric dispersion, air quality measurement and modelling of air quality on local to mesoscales. For more information about his work, please visit http://strc.herts.ac.uk/asrg
The BOC Group established the BOC Foundation in 1990. Since then it has funded over 100 environmental projects in the UK and invested with its partners over £10 million. The BOC Foundation has supported projects proposing practical solutions to environmental problems. BOC remains committed to these aims and intends to increase the proportion of its environmental spending that goes in direct support of selected projects. For further information, please visit: http://www.boc.com/foundation/
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