Title

Analysis of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon (PAH) Concentrations and Source Profiles from Sealcoated Pavements at Two Commercial Lots in Carlisle, Pennsylvania

Date of Award

5-17-2015

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Department

Chemistry

First Advisor

Amy E. Witter

Language

English

Abstract

Coal-tar-based sealcoats have been identified as a significant source of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) pollutants. The concentrations and source profiles of PAHs in seal-coat samples from two commercial lots in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, were quantified. Seal-coat scrapings, from which a robust data set of PAHs was extracted (>1000 data points), were collected over approximately three-and-a-half months. PAHs were extracted from sealcoat emulsion samples, and the crude extracts were cleaned using solid-phase extraction prior to analysis using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Although samples from both sites exhibited similar PAH assemblages, the PAH profiles at each site varied temporally. Site A showed decreases in total PAH concentrations and low-molecular-weight-to-high-molecular-weight ratios; Site B's chemistry remained relatively static. Results suggest that different sealcoats used in Carlisle have diverse chemistries and varying cure times. Although a curing period of 24-48 hours is often recommended, curing times for sealcoats at the two Carlisle lots were found to last at least 41 days and even longer than 103 days.

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