Mist cannon trucks can exacerbate the formation of water-soluble organic aerosol and PM 2.5 pollution in the road environment

Xu, Yu; Dong, Xin-Ni; He, Chen; Wu, Dai-She; Xiao, Hong-Wei; Xiao, Hua-Yun

Mist cannon trucks have been widely applied in megacities in China to reduce the road dust, since they are considered to be more water saving and efficient than the traditional sprinkling trucks. However, their effect on the formation of water-soluble organic compounds and the pollution control of fine particles (PMinline-formula2.5) remains unknown. We characterized the variations of chemical compositions in PMinline-formula2.5 collected on the road sides during the simulated operations of mist cannon truck and traditional sprinkling truck via Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry and ion chromatography. The mass concentrations of water-soluble organic carbon in PMinline-formula2.5 showed a significant increase (62 %–70 %) after air spraying. Furthermore, we found that water-soluble organic compounds, particularly organic nitrates, increased significantly via the interactions of reactive gas-phase organics, atmospheric oxidants and aerosol liquid water after air spraying, although the air spraying had a better effect on suppressing road dust than the ground aspersion. Moreover, the formation of PMinline-formula2.5 on the road segment where the mist cannon truck passed by was promoted, with an increase of up to 13 % in mass concentration after 25–35 min, on average. Thus, the application of mist cannon trucks potentially worsens the road atmospheric environment through the increase in PMinline-formula2.5 levels and the production of a large number of water-soluble organic compounds in PMinline-formula2.5. The overall results provide not only valuable insights to the formation processes of water-soluble organic compounds associated with aerosol liquid water in the road environment but also management strategies to regulate the operation of mist cannon trucks in China.

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Xu, Yu / Dong, Xin-Ni / He, Chen / et al: Mist cannon trucks can exacerbate the formation of water-soluble organic aerosol and PM2.5 pollution in the road environment. 2023. Copernicus Publications.

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