Civil and Environmental Engineering


Fall Semester 2008


Environmental Measurements - AIR

21 October –  6 December 2008




Air:  Tom Jobson, Dana 302D,;  Lee Bamesberger, Dana 313C, x5-5142,


Required text:  none – there will be many handouts; get a large notebook.  All handouts will be put onto the class website.


Grades:  the air and water quality sections will be graded equally to make up your final grade.  Grading scales will be different for graduate students and undergraduate students.  The air and water sections will determine grades individually using a formula preferred by that instructor.


GOALS & TOPICS for this Course


·         Conduct experiments, analyze data, interpret results, draw conclusions

·         Think logically and creatively

·         Write an extensive lab report as though to a non-scientist/non-engineer (your boss?) about air quality for each laboratory

·         Work in teams

·         Use and learn appropriate lab and numerical techniques



·         To understand the EPA criteria pollutants, including sources, sinks, and basic chemistry

·         To understand in detail how each EPA certified instrument works

·         Use an EPA certified instrument to measure each of the criteria pollutants

·         Topics:

·         EPA criteria pollutants

·         Theory of operation of each EPA certified instrument

·         Measurement of criteria pollutants – one week for each pollutant




            The goal of the air half of the course is to give you the theoretical basis to understand the measurement of environmental air quality parameters, and to actually use equipment to make these measurements.  You will learn about the most important urban air pollutants, chemical properties of these pollutants, their sources and sinks, and the US EPA NAAQS for each criteria pollutant.  In the lab you will become familiar with pollutant monitoring instruments - their principle of operation and their calibration methods.  There are 4 air quality measurement labs (AQ, labs 2-5) and one flow lab. 



1.  Given the large number of students in the class, labs will generally meet on Tuesdays in two sections of 2 hours each, and Thursdays will be used for lectures and quizzes.


Lab reports will normally be turned in two weeks after the lab - one week for automated data acquisition [Tuesday - Monday] starting the day of the lab, and then a week to prepare the report from the data. 


For 515 an extra project report will be required at the end of the semester.  The subject of this report will be negotiated with the instructors.  Only one report is required for the class – on either air or water topics.


The class will be divided into teams.  There are 20 students in the class and there are 4 major work areas in the air lab.  The air lab time will be split in half so groups meet Tuesdays 2:10 - 4:00pm or 4:10 - 6:00pm, depending on when your group is assigned.  Each group will consist of 4 teams, each team will be assigned a particular instrument for that weeks lab (O3, CO, NOx, SO2).  Be prepared to talk with me on Tuesday about group and team assignments – if most of you want to keep current groups, that is fine but we will need a couple of teams with 3 students to make this work.


Schedule: Tuesday 2:10 – 6:00 Dana 313, Thursday 3:10 – ~ 5:00 (Sloan 45)


Date - 2007                   Tuesday                                   Thursday


10/21                            Flow Lab #1                               general class + AQ basic info


10/28 – 10/30                            AQ : Lab #2       Lab #1 due        Lecture


11/4 – 11/6                    AQ : Lab #3                               Lecture


11/11 – 11/13                AQ  :Lab #4       Lab #2 due        Lecture


11/18 – 11/20                AQ : Lab #5       Lab #3 due        Lecture


11/25 – 11/27                                        Lab #4 due        Thanksgiving break        


12/2 – 12/4                                            Lab #5 due        Lecture


12/7 – 12/9                                                                    Review



Air final exam will be given during finals week.  We can pick a day based on several assigned class times


Course grade (air half  =  50% of total grade for 415/515):

quizzes:  20%

lab reports:  55%

final exam:  25%


Books (not required, but of interest):

Seinfeld, J. and Pandis, S.  Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 1998

Finlayson-Pitts, B. and Pitts, J., Atmospheric Chemistry, Fundamentals and Experimental Techniques, 1986, 1999

various papers to be passed out in class



- the flowmeter lab report is due October 28.

- each AQ lab will result in a calibrated instrument ready to take data automatically for a nominal week (no requirement to be in the lab except at the assigned time, but you might want to check on things periodically during the week).  The performance of all the systems is easily observed on the computer screen.  The data will be given to each group on CD after the data collection period.  See dates for when the lab reports are due (Thanksgiving break really messes up the schedule).


Lab Report Format:

·         title page - course title, names, date, etc.

·         introduction - summarize purpose of the experiment and describe the EPA rules and regulations

·         methods and procedures - describe experimental procedures employed; briefly describe how the instrument works

·         results and error analysis - report results of the experiment.  The week’s data should be plotted on normal 8.5” x 11” paper in units anyone can read easily (for example, your new boss who has you making these measurements at the Plant - you can assume that the boss has a bachelor’s degree in a nonscience major and is interested in your report to meet an air quality standard).  We will use Wavemetrics IgorPro software for plotting data and performing analysis. I’ll help you learn this software so you can efficiently digest data collected from the Dana roof top. This program is available as a trial download, and is on the computers in Dana 302.  You can use other software for number crunching but do not hand in Excel plots.

·         Interpretation of your data – what can you say about Pullman air pollution based on your measurements

·         conclusions

A list of lab report requirements will be passed out prior to any labs being due and is on the web.



            You will be very frustrated by the shortness of this class - there is much background information to be talked about, and the labs to do.  Thursdays will often be used for long lectures/discussions, and this will tire both you and me out.  Since the labs start up right away, some of you will be working on equipment that we have not yet talked about in detail in class; by the end of the air section, we will have everyone up to date.  The future web site has relevant material to understanding the instruments – please read it before class.  Lee and I will be available in the lab to help you.  But, no attempt will be made to babysit you; students in the past have found this approach frustrating at first, but beneficial in the long term as you are forced to work in the lab on your own.


Air Quality Journals:

General                                                                                   Meteorology

J. Environmental Science and Technology                        J. Applied Meteorology

J. Air and Waste Management Association                      Bull. American Meteorological Society

Atmospheric Environment                                               J. Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology

Tellus                                                                            Boundary Layer Meteorology




New Scientist

Chemical and Engineering News (trade journal - very good review articles)


Atmospheric Chemistry

J. Geophysical Research (D - Atmospheres)                    Aerosol Science and Technology

Geophysical Research Letters                                        J. Atmospheric Sciences

Global Biogeochemical Cycles                                        J. Physical Chemistry

International Journal of Chemical Kinetics             J. Chemical Physics