Faculty Sponsor

Julie Peller


Arts and Sciences



Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Symposium Date

Spring 5-1-2020


Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) and particulate matter (PM) have been serious air pollution concerns around the world, particularly where industries and high volume traffic is present. These pollutants have been shown to have a negative effect on most living organisms, which is why they are regulated in many countries. To determine the air quality in the Valparaiso area, an experimental plan was conducted to determine the amount and type of these pollutants in the air. One of the project goals was to measure and compare indoor vs outdoor pollution. Another was to observe and assess weather effects on outdoor air pollution. Various locations around Valparaiso University campus and in the surrounding geographical area were chosen to analyze VOCs and PM. VOC testing was conducted using a solid phase microextraction fiber (SPME) to passively collect air pollutants. For PM, a MIE pDR-1500 active personal particulate monitor was used to actively draw in air and measure the concentration of particulate matter. A filter paper was used in the personal particulate monitor to collect the actual particulates. The instrument was run with both no filter, to determine total PM, and an adapter to select for PM 2.5 microns or lower. The SPME fibers were analyzed using a gas chromatographer - mass spectrometer (GCMS) to help determine the volatile or semi-volatile compounds present in the air. The collected data shows many differences between indoor and outdoor air.

Biographical Information about Author(s)

This is the research project for the Chemistry 190 research class.