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Analytical modeling of the subsurface volatile organic vapor concentration in vapor intrusion

Shen, Rui, Pennell, Kelly G., Suuberg, Eric M.
Chemosphere 2014 v.95 pp. 140-149
air, breathing, field experimentation, mathematical models, organic compounds, soil air, vapors
The inhalation of volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds that intrude from a subsurface contaminant source into indoor air has become the subject of health and safety concerns over the last twenty years. Building subslab and soil gas contaminant vapor concentration sampling have become integral parts of vapor intrusion field investigations. While numerical models can be of use in analyzing field data and in helping understand the subslab and soil gas vapor concentrations, they are not widely used due to the perceived effort in setting them up. In this manuscript, we present a new closed-form analytical expression describing subsurface contaminant vapor concentrations, including subslab vapor concentrations. The expression was derived using Schwarz-Christoffel mapping. Results from this analytical model match well the numerical modeling results. This manuscript also explores the relationship between subslab and exterior soil gas vapor concentrations, and offers insights on what parameters need to receive greater focus in field studies.