The application of magnetic measurements for the characterisation of atmospheric particulate pollution within the airport environment

Susan Jones, Nigel Richardson, Michael Bennett, Stephen R Hoon

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    20 Citations (Scopus)
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    The significant increase in global air travel which has occurred during the last fifty years has generated growing concern regarding the potential impacts associated with increasing emissions of atmospheric particulate matter (PM) on health and the environment. PM within the airport environment may be derived from a range of sources. To date, however, the identification of individual sources of airport derived PM has remained elusive but constitutes a research priority for the aviation industry. The main aim of this research was to identify distinctive and characteristic fingerprints of atmospheric PM derived from various sources in an airport environment through the use of environmental magnetic measurements. PM samples from aircraft engine emissions, brake wear and tyre wear residues, have been obtained from a range of different aircraft and engine types. All samples have been analysed by utilising a range of magnetic mineral properties indicative of magnetic mineralogy and grain size. Results indicate that the dusts from the three 'aircraft' sources, (i.e. engines, brakes and tyres) display distinctive magnetic mineral characteristics which may serve as 'magnetic fingerprints' for these sources. Magnetic measurements of runway dusts collected at different locations on the runway surface also show contrasting magnetic characteristics which, when compared with those of the aircraft-derived samples, suggest that they may relate to different sources characteristic of aircraft emissions at various stages of the take-off/landing cycle. The findings suggest that magnetic measurements could have wider applicability for the differentiation and identification of PM within the airport environment.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)385-390
    JournalScience of the Total Environment
    Early online date29 Sept 2014
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


    • Aircraft emissions Atmospheric particulate matter (PM) Environmental magnetism Environmental pollution Magnetic ‘fingerprints’ Source attribution


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