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Transport and deposition of indoor radon decay products—II. Influence of environmental conditions

Atmospheric Environment Part B Urban Atmosphere
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/0957-1272(91)90007-2
  • Ecology
  • Geography
  • Mathematics


Abstract The effects of indoor radon decay product behavior on overall concentrations have generally been characterized using uniformly-mixed models, mathematical formulations based on steady-state macroscopic mass-balances, assuming uniform concentrations within the enclosure. The uniformly-mixed model parameterizes the deposition process as a constant volumetric removal rate, given different values for the free and attached progeny. The model requires prior knowledge of the deposition rates, and assumes them to be constant, independent of environmental conditions, and identical for all decay products. There has generally been little agreement regarding the actual values of the deposition rates, and the uncertainty in these required values presents an important limitation. In response to the limitations of existing mass-balance models, an indoor radon mass-transport model, RADTRAN, was developed using a microscopic mass-balance. Deposition by molecular diffusion is accounted for through boundary conditions, and deposition velocity is calculated based on the concentration distribution near the wall. Parametric sensitivity studies using RADTRAN examined the sensitivity of the deposition of radon decay products to several factors: the size of the free progeny (measured by its diffusivity, D f), particle concentration (using the attachment rate, X), and air motion. Deposition is described in terms of the deposition velocities of the free and attached progeny, u f and u a. The development of RADTRAN is described in a companion paper. This paper presents the results of the parametric sensitivity studies examining the influence of environmental conditions on radon progeny deposition. Results primarily focus on the influence on the free mode of the first radon decay product, 218Po. RADTRAN is also used to examine the variations of deposition velocity between the decay products.

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