AIA AUSTIN – Surfaces that Surround You Affect What You Breathe

AIA AUSTIN – Surfaces that Surround You Affect What You Breathe

Join BEC , as they focus on indoor air quality with a presentation lead by Dr. Richard L. Corsi, PhD, PE.
Networking lunch will begin at 11:30 a.m., and presentation at 12:00 p.m.

Presentation Abstract
From infancy to twilight years, the air that we breathe and surfaces that we touch inside buildings have a substantial impact on our lifetime exposure to air pollution, including pollution of outdoor origin.  As such, there is value in understanding the processes that affect the sources and fate of air pollutants indoors, with a goal of manipulating these processes to improve the air that we breathe.

An important feature of indoor atmospheres is the relatively large ratio of surface area to volume of air, particularly in comparison to the same ratio for the outdoor atmosphere.  From building materials to architectural coatings, flooring to furniture, and HVAC system components to human occupants, indoor surfaces vary considerably from one another and within and between buildings.  These surfaces are sources of air pollutants and reservoirs (sinks) onto and into which pollutants adsorb, absorb and persist.  They contain reaction sites that permanently remove pollutants while forming others.  They also allow for direct contaminant transfer following physical contact.  Importantly, indoor materials and their surfaces are dynamic, with changes that occur over time scales of minutes to decades and that can dramatically influence surface interactions with pollutants in indoor air.

This presentation will begin with a discussion of the importance of indoor air quality, including the broader impacts associated with its improvement and the intellectual merit of its continued study.  The importance of indoor materials and their impacts on indoor air quality will be explored using several examples from past and ongoing research that reflect different interfacial phenomena and influencing factors. The potential for smart use of materials for improvement of indoor air quality will also be discussed as a rich topic for future research.

There are materials around you that are affecting the amount and nature of pollutants that you are inhaling as you read this abstract. Get to know them.

Richard L. Corsi, Ph.D., P.E.

Dr. Richard L. Corsi joined the faculty of the Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering (CAEE) at the University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) in 1994, after several years on the faculty of the University of Guelph in Ontario Canada.  He is the Joe J. King Chair in Engineering #2 at UT Austin, and served as Chair of the Department of CAEE at UT Austin from 2013 to 2017. Dr. Corsi received his B.S. degree in Environmental Resources Engineering from Humboldt State University in 1983, where he was honored as a Distinguished Alumnus in 2006.  He received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of California at Davis in 1985 and 1989, respectively, and was honored as a Distinguished Alumnus of the College of Engineering there in 2016. Dr. Corsi’s research focuses on indoor air quality, particularly on sources, fate, occupant exposure, and control of pollutants of both indoor and outdoor origin.  In recent years his team has focused on indoor oxidation chemistry, including the concept of passive rmeoval materials to control unwanted chemistry in buildings.  Dr. Corsi has served as PI on over 75 funded research projects over 27 years and has supervised 20 Ph.D. and over 50 M.S. students. Dr. Corsi teaches courses on indoor air quality at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. In 2016 he was honored with election to the Academy of Distinguished Teachers, an honor bestowed on 5% of faculty at the University of Texas at Austin.  He also received a prestigious Regents Outstanding Teaching Award for the entire University of Texas System. Most importantly, Dr. Corsi is human dad to Chloe, the world’s most wonderful Australian Cattle Dog.

BEC: Austin is an interdisciplinary organization that promotes the exchange of information on building enclosures and related science specific to the climate of Central Texas.



AIA Austin

801 W 12th St

Austin, TX 78701

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