Ultrafine particle emissions from cigarette smouldering, incense burning, vacuum cleaner motor operation and cooking

C. L. Wu, Christopher Y.H. Chao, G. N. Sze-To, M. P. Wan, T. C. Chan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)


Combustion activities such as cigarette smouldering, incense burning and cooking are important sources of particulate matters (PM) in indoor environments. Vacuum cleaning contributes to the non-combustion-related sources of PMs. In this study, we investigated the rates at which ultrafine particles (UFPs) are emitted from cigarettes, incenses and vacuum cleaners in a small test chamber. UFP emission from cooking was obtained by conducting experiments in a residential kitchen. Particle number concentrations and size distributions from these sources were measured using a scanning mobility particle sizer (SMPS) and the UFP emission rates were then determined using a material balance approach. The mean UFP emission rates of cigarette smouldering and incense burning were found to be 3.36 ± 0.34 and 0.44 ± 0.33 × 1011 particles min-1 in terms of the number emission rate, or 22.78 ± 1.21 and 3.48 ± 2.98 × 1015 nm2 min-1 in terms of the surface area emission rate, respectively. Vacuum cleaner motor operation and cooking showed high variations in UFP emission, in the ranges 0.013-0.066 and 4.70-148.29 × 1011 particles min-1, respectively. A database of emission rates for UFP sources can be compiled, which will be useful in estimating the UFP concentration and subsequent human exposure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)782-796
Number of pages15
JournalIndoor and Built Environment
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012


  • Cigarette smouldering
  • Cooking
  • Emission rate
  • Incense burning
  • Ultrafine particle
  • Vacuum cleaner

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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