Impact of ventilation scenario on air exchange rates and on indoor particle number concentrations in an air-conditioned classroom

H. Guo, L. Morawska, C. He, D. Gilbert

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

106 Citations (Scopus)


A 2-week intensive measurement campaign of indoor and outdoor air pollution was carried out in September 2006, in a primary school to investigate indoor-outdoor correlations of particle number (PN) concentrations, and the impact of air exchange rate (ACH) on the indoor PN concentration. The ACHs in the classroom for different conditions associated with window opening and the operational status of air conditioners (A/C) and fans were tested. As expected, the lowest ACH (0.12 h-1) was found when the windows were closed and A/C and fans were off. In contrast, the highest ACH (7.92 h-1) was observed when the windows were opened and A/C and fans were all on. The analysis of the PN I/O ratios at different ACHs in the absence of indoor sources indicates that the mean I/O ratio was 0.621±0.007 (mean±95% confidence interval) when the windows were closed, and A/C and fans were off; 0.524±0.023 when windows were closed, fans were off and A/C was on; and 0.502±0.029 when windows were closed, A/C was off and fans were on. To further understand the relationship between indoor and outdoor PN concentrations, the impact of outdoor PN concentration on I/O ratios at different ACHs was investigated. It was found that the relationship between outdoor PN concentration and the I/O ratio at different ACHs followed a power trendline with an equation of I/O ratio=A PNout-b(A and b are coefficients, PNoutis outdoor PN concentration), suggesting that the penetration efficiency decreased with increasing outdoor PN concentration. It is the first time we found that when the outdoor PN concentration increased there was an associated increase in the concentration of nano-particles, which have been demonstrated to have higher deposition rates and lower penetration efficiencies. Based on the above equation, the study also showed a significant effect of ACH on indoor PN concentrations under stable outdoor PN concentrations. In general, the higher the ACH was, the lower the indoor PN concentration was.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)757-768
Number of pages12
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Air exchange rate
  • Air-conditioned classroom
  • Indoor to outdoor ratios
  • Nano-particles
  • Particle number concentration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Atmospheric Science

Cite this