Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering - Dr. John C. Little
Air Quality Laboratory


Lab Introduction

The Virginia Tech Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering operates 15,000 square feet of usable laboratory space dedicated to environmental engineering research.  Standard laboratory infrastructure includes hoods, lab benches, gas, water, air, and vacuum lines; analytical balances, glassware, incubators, refrigerators, shakers, ultrasonicators, Soxhlet extraction glassware, hotplates, and pH meters.  Research activities are supported by a full-time laboratory manager. 

The Department operates a separate, professionally staffed Analytical Instrumentation Laboratory containing additional equipment including a Tremetrics/Tekmar GC /purge and trap concentrator; HP GC/MS with data system; HP GC with headspace analyzer; HORIBA particle size analyzer; and a Veeco atomic force microscope (AFM).  An experienced, full-time analytical chemist maintains equipment and works with faculty and graduate students to ensure that equipment and instrumentation is properly utilized.  The Department is committed to quality assurance and quality control of all analytical data.

A dedicated Air Quality Laboratory contains equipment for precise control and measurement of gas characteristics.  This equipment includes mass-flow controllers and pressure, flow, and temperature measurement devices.  Two flexible automated data acquisition systems are used to control experimental parameters and collect and record data during investigations. 

Major Equipments

Major equipment dedicated to air quality research includes,

  • Two Cahn D-200 electronic recording microbalances – dynamic determination of mass to microgram precision.

  • Environmental chambers, fully instrumented, with air flow, humidity, and temperature control – dynamic or static emissions testing.
  • Perkin-Elmer ATD 400 thermal desorption apparatus connected to a HP 6890 GC – analysis of compounds collected in sorbent-packed gas sampling tubes.

  • Two VICI Metronics Dynacalibrator 190 permeation devices with flow controller – generation of calibration gases.

  • Innova 1312-A FTIR photoacoustic gas analyzer – analysis of gas streams containing organic and inorganic compounds.
  • TSI 3025A ultrafine condensation particle counter
  • TSI 3080 electrostatic particle classifier.
  • TSI 3076 constant output particle atomizer.
  • Thermo Electron Corporation 49C ozone analyzer.
  • EcoPhysics CLD 88 YI nitrogen oxide analyzer.
  • Mobile Air Quality Instrumentation Laboratory that includes a LI-COR 7000 carbon dioxide /water vapor analyzer, Teledyne 300E carbon monoxide analyzer, TSI Dustrak 8520 fine particle analyzer, Applied Technologies SATI-3K Sonic Anemometer, and a National Instruments Field Point data acquisition system.