1Department of Inorganic, Metallorganic and Analytical Chemistry, Università degli Studi di Milano, Via Venezian 22, 20133 Milan, Italy
2Department of Physics, Università degli Studi di Milano, Via Celoria 16, 20133 Milan, Italy
*now at: Department of Environmental and Territorial Sciences, Università di Milano-Bicocca, Piazza della Scienza 1, 20126 Milan, Italy
Abstract. In this work, three different thermal protocols were tested on untreated and water-washed aerosol samples to study the influence of soluble organic and inorganic compounds on EC measurements. Moreover, analyses on the water soluble extracts were carried out. The aim was to find out the most suitable protocol to analyse samples collected in a heavily polluted area. Indeed, the tests were performed on real samples collected at an urban background station in the Po Valley, which is one of the main pollution hot-spots in Europe.
The main differences among the tested protocols were the maximum temperature of the He step (i.e. 870 °C, 650 °C, and 580 °C) and the duration of the plateaus during the heating procedure. Our measurements evidenced the presence of a significant amount of weakly light-absorbing carbonaceous aerosol evolving during the highest temperature step in He (i.e. 870 °C), which makes lower temperature protocols not suitable for EC determination in samples collected in heavily polluted areas like Milan.