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Predicting the Performance of Gaseous Air Cleaners Measurements and Model Simulations From a Residential-Scale Pilot Study



Cynthia H. Reed, Steven J. Nabinger, Steven Emmerich


As part of an ongoing effort to evaluate the predictive capability of indoor air quality (IAQ) simulation tools, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is evaluating the ability of the multi-zone IAQ model CONTAM to predict the effectiveness of different control strategies to reduce indoor concentrations of particle and gaseous contaminants. This report describes an evaluation of gaseous air cleaners. It includes a literature review of gaseous air cleaning, a field study of the performance of two gaseous air cleaners in a single room test house, and CONTAM simulations based on these tests. The literature review provides a summary of the available gaseous air cleaner technologies, including carbon adsorption, chemisorption, ozonation, and photocatalytic oxidation. The field study involved a total of 23 experiments to evaluate the effectiveness of a portable carbon adsorption air cleaner and an in-duct chemisorption air cleaner to remove toluene from a single room test house for a range of environmental and operating conditions. Air cleaner removal efficiencies were similar for the two air cleaners and ranged from 26 % to 61 %. For the given conditions, these removal efficiencies were equivalent to air cleaner effectiveness rates of 69 % to 95 %, well above the effectiveness of infiltration and sorption to remove toluene from the test house. Of all the operating conditions tested, only relative humidity appeared to have an impact on the in-duct air cleaner s performance. Five additional tests were completed to determine the ability of CONTAM to predict the performance of each air cleaner. Simulations were run with removal efficiencies determined experimentally, and the predicted concentrations were compared with concentrations measured in the five independent tests. Based on a statistical analysis, CONTAM proved to be an effective tool for predicting the impact of air cleaner performance in the single zone environment.
NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) - 7114
Report Number


air cleaners, field study, indoor air, model validation, VOC transport


Reed, C. , Nabinger, S. and Emmerich, S. (2004), Predicting the Performance of Gaseous Air Cleaners Measurements and Model Simulations From a Residential-Scale Pilot Study, NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed February 28, 2024)
Created April 30, 2004, Updated October 12, 2021