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Research with Dr. Julie Palkendo

Air Quality Projects Investigating Lead and Particulate Matter (PM) in Ambient Air

air monitoring stationWe have investigated lead in particles collected from the air sampling equipment located here at Kutztown University (KU).  Lead (Pb) in air is a locally interesting problem due to the vicinity of lead-acid battery manufacturing plants and a secondary lead smelter.  KU is currently located within the Lyons nonattainment area of Berks County.  This means that the area has lead in air concentrations that exceed the National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) set by the U.S. EPA.  Our future work hopes to study different sizes of particles and their lead content as a function of short collection time periods.  Weather data will also be used to better understand the particles' origins. 

cutting a filter

particulate matter

Chemical Analysis of Indoor Particulate Matter Dust Trac in caseDust Trac

Previously, Armell McFarland ('11) and Christine Dolman ('12) used the DustTrak DRX portable aerosol monitor to investigate indoor particle concentrations and sources.  Data are shown for possible indoor emission sources such as stovetop cooking, cigarette smoking, and a wood burning stove.  Future work will be geared towards identifying signature chemical compounds from each indoor source.  The chemical analysis of indoor particles will involve extraction of the filter disk and analysis by a wide range of instrumentation.      
stovetop particulate mattercigarette particulate matterwood stove particulate matter

Analysis of Heavy Metals in Soils, Sediments and Water from Saucony Creek   solil filtration 

atomic absorption flame

This collaborative project will continue to analyze heavy metal concentrations in samples collected from Saucony Creek within the borough of Kutztown, PA.  The techniques of acid digestion followed by Flame Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy are primarily utilized.  While this local area has a large agricultural use, previous and current industries in the area as well as the proximity to coal power plants could contribute to increased heavy metal concentrations as a result of atmospheric deposition.  Sampling transects are selected to investigate fluvial geomorphic cross sections as well as potential locations for sources and storage within sediments.  Other environmentally interesting compounds relating to agricultural use may also be studied.