Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Civil Engineering


Wen-Whai Li


This thesis is a presentation of particulate matter data collected from February 2007 to June 2008. Personal environment monitors (PEM), which measured 7-day PM2.5 concentrations, had been deployed at 14 homes during the 2007 year and deployed in 16 different homes during the 2008 sampling year. Within each sampling year, sampling occurred for two one-week (7-day) periods during each season. In addition to PEM sampling, a tapered element oscillating microbalance (TEOM) continuous sampler had been deployed in both indoors and outdoors at one pre-selected household per week. Gravimetric, chemical, and black carbon analysis had been performed on the PEM PM2.5 filters while time-series plots of the TEOM PM10 and PM2.5 data were constructed to extract diurnal patterns from the data. Results from the TEOM data affirm the purported existence of a strong diurnal patter in particulate matter observations in the El Paso region.

Strong increases in particulate matter were seen, on average, between the hours of 06:00 and 10:00 (morning) and once again in the evening from 16:00 to 20:00. Of the TEOM data, the mean outdoor and indoor PM2.5 concentrations were found to be 23.9 µg/m3 and 17.8 µg/m3, while the mean outdoor and indoor PM10 concentrations were found to be 27.3 µg/m3 and 18.0 µg/m3, respectively. Mean outdoor and indoor TEOM PM2.5 concentrations were found to be, on average, greater during the summer seasons. The mean TEOM outdoor PM10 was also found to be greater during the summer seasons over the winter seasons, while the mean indoor PM10 TEOM concentration was found to be only slightly greater during the winter seasons over the summer seasons. Indoor/Outdoor (I/O) ratios for PM10 for all TEOM sampling locations during the entire study period were found to be greater, on average, than (I/O) ratios for PM2.5 with values of 1.15 and 1.05, respectively.

A mean PM2.5 concentration of 19.8 µg/m3 was seen in the PEM indoor samples collected at all locations during the entire study period, while the mean winter concentration 22.9 µg/m3 was shown to be much higher than the mean summer concentration 16.8 µg/m3. Results of an EDXRF analysis found that geologic elements (Al, Si, Ca, Fe, Ti, and K) were found to compose a majority of the total PM2.5 mass at 17.4%, while toxic trace elements (Cu, Cr, As, Cd, and Pb) were found to compose only 0.19% of the total PM2.5 mass. All analyzed elements (Σ Elements) were found to compose, on average, 24% of the total PM2.5 mass collected using the PEM sampler. The mean black carbon (BC) concentration on the PEM filters for the entire study period was found to be 0.30 µg/m3; BC concentrations were also found to be higher during the winter seasons, 0.38 µg/m3, than the summer seasons, 0.21 µg/m3. Black carbon was also found to compose, on average, 1.8% of the total PM2.5 mass.

Principle components analysis (PCA) was conducted on the EDXRF data and presented four primary components within the elemental data. The first component included Al, Ba, Ca, Fe, K, Mg, Mn, Pb, Sr, Ti, and V, while the second component included Cr, Ga, Mo, and Ni. The third component consists of As, Rh, and Te, while the final component was composed of what is believed to be salt (Na and Cl). The first component, composed of mostly geologic material, composed the greatest majority of elements found in the total PM mass, while the other components were mostly hypothesized to be related to industrial release in the area.




Received from ProQuest

File Size

247 pages

File Format


Rights Holder

Joseph Christopher Pinon