Particulate nitrate measurement using nylon filters.
ABSTRACT Nylon filters are a popular medium to collect atmospheric fine particles in different aerosol monitoring networks, including those operated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Interagency Monitoring of Protected Visual Environments (IMPROVE) program. Extraction of the filters by deionized water or by a basic aqueous solution (typically a mixture of sodium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate) is often performed to permit measurement of the inorganic ion content of the collected particles. Whereas previous studies have demonstrated the importance of using a basic solution to efficiently extract gaseous nitric acid collected using nylon filters, there has been a recent movement to the use of deionized water for extraction of particles collected on nylon filters to eliminate interference from sodium ion (Na+) during ion chromatographic analysis of inorganic aerosol cations. Results are reported here from a study designed to investigate the efficiency of deionized water extraction of aerosol nitrate (NO3-) and sulfate from nylon filters. Data were obtained through the conduct of five field experiments at selected IMPROVE sites. Results indicate that the nylon filters provide superior retention of collected fine particle NO3-, relative to Teflon filters, and that deionized water extraction (with ultrasonication) of collected NO3- and sulfate is as efficient, for the situations studied, as extraction using a basic solution of 1.7 mM sodium bicarbonate and 1.8 mM sodium carbonate.