Characterisation of aviation volatile and non-volatile particulate matter using a standardised sampling system

  • Liam Smith

Student thesis: Phd


Aerosols are important components of the atmosphere due to their climate and human health impacts. Combustion-produced aerosol produces serious health concerns and climate impacts and their investigation and reduction strategies require research and scrutiny. Aviation is an interesting subset of combustion aerosols, in that they are unique as they are emitted at many atmospheric layers. As air travel increases, the impacts of aviation emitted particulates will increase without mitigation. Many research campaigns have investigated the volatile particulate matter in diluted plumes at airports which are invaluable. However one disadvantage of this approach is that they are susceptible to changing ambient conditions and are hard to replicate as a result. Furthermore, each experiment uses a different sampling system. This thesis investigates volatile particulate matter emitted from six different aviation sources, examining the particle composition, number and mass concentrations. All of these are taken from a well-defined (and therefore more easily reproducible) standardised sampling system used for the current International Civil Aviation Orgnisation’s non-volatile particulate matter regulatory emission measurements, taken at, or near, the engine exit plane. What appears to be new compositional findings of aircraft particulate matter are presented for the first time. The potential emission reduction strategy of alternative fuel use is also investigated insofar as it related to reductions of both non-volatile particulate matter’s number and mass concentrations, and volatile mass concentrations and composition. In this thesis, organic aerosol was found to consist of hydrocarbon and oxygenated hydrocarbon species for all three papers. A highly oxygenated product was found, which was assumed to be a product of quench air applied to a combustor rig, and was found on two different combustors. The composition of the aerosol taken at engine exit and near-engine exit conditions was found to be similar to that at greater distances. The composition of each source’s aerosol was highly different.
Date of Award31 Dec 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorPaul Williams (Supervisor) & Hugh Coe (Supervisor)


  • sulphate
  • organic
  • particulate
  • matter
  • volatile particulate matter
  • emissions
  • aircraft
  • volatile

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