Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

First Advisor

Marina Vance

Second Advisor

Shelly Miller

Third Advisor

Michael Hannigan


Particulate matter emissions from cooking activities are a major contributor to indoor air pollution in households. A major part of these emissions consists of light absorbing aerosols known as black carbon (BC) and brown carbon (BrC). The goal of this work was to characterize the contributions of indoor and outdoor sources of BC and BrC to the indoor environment by measuring real-time concentrations of these components indoors and outdoors concurrently during the month-long HOMEChem field study in June 2018. We quantified the penetration of BC and BrC into the house from outdoor sources and characterized the impacts of cooking activities on indoor air quality in terms of BC and BrC concentrations, including exposure and dose calculations. The BC exposure was at least 4 times higher during the preparation of any cooked meal than during a comparable period of no activity. The exposure and dose during a simulated Thanksgiving Day were highest with BrC concentrations peaking at 6390 ng m-3. The Power law fitting approach was used to calculate angstrom exponent (α) for characterizing aerosol emissions during different activities. The value of α ranged from 1.1 to 3.67 during the entire campaign, with the lowest value (indicative of BC-dominated aerosols) observed in periods of no activity and the highest value (indicative of BrC-dominated aerosols) observed during the Thanksgiving Day experiments. Real-time data collected in this study improves our understanding of the generation of BC and BrC indoors and the effects of outdoor air pollution on indoor air quality.