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News 2012

CRAC Researchers Visit Dunkerque

1 Aug 2012
Research group visit Dunkerque in France.

Researchers from the Centre for Research in Atmospheric Chemistry (CRAC) were abroad once more recently, this time for a measurement campaign in Dunkerque.

On the north-east coast of France, the city’s air quality is subject not only to the shipping traffic of the Dover Strait, one of the busiest international seaways in the world, but also to emissions from a considerable industrial sector.  Over the course of a month, PhD student Jovanna Arndt, under the supervision of Dr. John Wenger, used the CRAC’s aerosol time-of-flight mass spectrometer (ATOFMS) to determine in real time the chemical composition and size of individual ambient particles in the city’s port. The instrument is effective at detecting metals such as iron, manganese, vanadium and aluminium (among a wide range of chemical species), which is why its services were enlisted by Dr. Pascal Flament of Dunkerque’s Université du Littoral Côte d'Opale.

The ATOFMS, along with two scanning mobility particle sizers (SMPS), an aerosol mass spectrometer (HR-ToF-AMS), a proton transfer reaction mass spectrometer (PTR-ToF-MS), lidar, SODAR, a weather station and 20 other scientists, were based on the grounds of Vale Manganese France during the one-month measurement campaign, as part of the NANO-INDUS project sponsored by ADEME, the French Environment Agency.

The facility has the largest manganese ferroalloy furnace in the world, and in addition to analysing ambient particles in the area the instruments were often focused on emissions from one of the stacks. The port covers 7000 hectares and contains other industrial installations, such as an oil refinery, a polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) plant and ArcelorMittal’s integrated steelworks, all of which produce particles the ATOFMS can identify from their “fingerprint” mass spectra. The port also has its own nuclear power plant, though whether this produces any particles detectable with the ATOFMS remains to be seen.

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