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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Carbon-Centered Free Radicals in Particulate Matter Emissions from Wood and Coal Combustion


Electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy was used to measure the free radicals in the particulate matter (PM) emissions from wood and coal combustion. The intensity of radicals in PM dropped linearly within two months of sample storage and stabilized after that. This factor of storage time was adjusted when comparing radical intensities among different PM samples. An inverse relationship between coal rank and free radical intensities in PM emissions was observed, which was in contrast with the pattern of radical intensities in the source coals. The strong correlation between intensities of free radical and elemental carbon in PM emissions suggests that the radical species may be carbon-centered. The increased g-factors, 2.0029-2.0039, over that of purely carbon-centered radicals may indicate the presence of vicinal oxygen heteroatom. The redox and biology activities of these carbon-centered radicals are worthy of evaluation.

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