Sorptive interactions between VOCs and indoor materials

Indoor Air. 2001 Dec;11(4):246-56. doi: 10.1034/j.1600-0668.2001.110406.x.


This study was carried out using various materials (carpet, gypsum board, upholstery, vinyl and wood flooring, acoustic tiles, and fruit) that were exposed to eight gaseous volatile organic compounds (VOCs) (isopropanol, MTBE, cyclohexane, toluene, ethylbenzene, tetrachloroethene, 1,2-dichlorobenzene, and 1,2,4-trichlorobenzene) in electro-polished stainless-steel chambers. Dynamic responses in VOC concentrations were used to determine linear adsorption and desorption rate coefficients and equilibrium partition coefficients. A linear adsorption/desorption model was used to effectively describe the interactions between VOCs and indoor surface materials for short-term source events (10 h). Relationships between sorption parameters and chemical vapor pressure and the octanol-air partition coefficient were observed. Carpet was identified as the most significant sorptive sink for non-polar VOCs. Virgin gypsum board was observed to be a significant sink for highly polar VOCs. Sorptive interactions between non-polar VOCs and indoor materials were not affected by variations in relative humidity. However, increases in relative humidity were observed to increase the degree of sorption of isopropanol to carpet.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absorption
  • Air Pollution, Indoor / analysis*
  • Calcium Sulfate / chemistry*
  • Humidity
  • Manufactured Materials*
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Organic Chemicals
  • Volatilization


  • Organic Chemicals
  • Calcium Sulfate