Resuspension of particulate matter from carpet due to human activity
This work investigated the resuspension and subsequent translocation of particulate matter (PM) from carpeted flooring surfaces due to walking. In addition, the effect of HVAC systems and ceiling fans on mixing and/or translocation of resuspended PM was studied. Testing took place both in a residence with a well-worn, soiled carpet and in an environmental test chamber. Prescribed walking occurred with PM measurements taken at multiple sampling heights. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) of carpet fibers was used to determine the fraction of dust available for resuspension. These data, in conjunction with resuspended mass concentrations from this study, were used to generate emission factors by particle size for walking on both new and worn carpet.
Carpet loading does not affect the emission factor, indicating that the amount of resuspended PM is directly proportional to the available PM in the carpet. While relative humidity (RH) plays an important role in resuspension from new carpets, with high RH enhancing resuspension, it has the opposite affect with old carpets, with increased RH decreasing resuspension. With the HVAC system on, translocated particles 1.2 m horizontally from the source had number concentrations of approximately 20-40% of those at the source. With a ceiling fan on, extensive mixing was noted with little difference seen in particle resuspension by height. With the ceiling fan off, there was very little mixing present and particle size varied substantially by height.