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Tracking pollutant degradation


​A specially-designed lab-scaled wind tunnel is used for long-term evaporation studies from inert, preservative, active, porous and non-porous surfaces, equipped with enzymatic, and GC analyses. This system is also used for the evaluation of natural weathering, as opposed to active decontamination.

The persistence of hazardous pollutants in the air and other environmental matrices, is a topic of acute interest. Understanding this complex issue requires simultaneous tracking of their chemical fate and natural decomposition reactions. Evaluating the degradation path and kinetics of hazardous compounds at different relevant environmental conditions is extremely challenging, particularly when preservative matrices are involved. Highly-controlled sensitive and quantitative analytical methods, are being developed and validated for long-term simulation. The fate of one of the most toxic chemical warfare agents, VX, was studied in asphalt pavement, a suspected preservative environmental surface, with the development of a novel quantitative method for the extraction of the trapped compound and its degradation products from the dissolved matrix. VX could be traced in asphalt even one year after exposure.

The rates of VX disappearance and its degradation product [(DES)2] appearance from aged contaminated spiked asphalt samples​