Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science
1145 Perry St. (0246)
Blacksburg, VA 24061
Air pollution is responsible for 7 million premature deaths per year. Developing accurate estimates of air pollutant emissions is critical for effective air quality management. We specialize in the following questions:
• How much gaseous and particulate pollutants are actually emitted by sources such as motor vehicles, construction equipment, airports, agricultural activities, and entire cities?
• How do these emissions affect ozone and other pollutants that form in the atmosphere?
• How do particles affect the emissions and concentrations of semi-volatile compounds such as phthalates in air?
Very little is known about the environmental effects of manufactured nanomaterials. We are interested in the release, transformation, fate, and toxicity of nanomaterials in the atmosphere. Our projects address the following questions:
• How much silver is released into the air or leached into liquids by nanotechnology-based products?
• Is there a simple way to produce nanoscale aerosols from dry powdered nanomaterials?
• How are fullerenes transformed upon reaction with ozone in the atmosphere?
• Does incineration of nanomaterials produce by-products of concern?
There are many unanswered questions about airborne transmission of infectious diseases, such as influenza. We are applying engineering tools to study the dynamics of pathogens in the atmosphere. We are working on the following questions:
• How does ambient humidity affect transmission of the flu?
• What is the chemical composition of expelled respiratory droplets?
• What environmental factors control the release of fungal spores of a plant pathogen that attacks wheat?
• How does the airborne viral community change seasonally in a daycare center?