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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract -

Design and Performance of a Large, Field Exposure Chamber to Measure Effects of Air Quality on Plants


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 18 No. 3, p. 361-368
    Received: Oct 21, 1988

    * Corresponding author(s):
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  1. Allen S. Heagle *,
  2. Robert B. Philbeck,
  3. Ronald E. Ferrell and
  4. Walter W. Heck
  1. U SDA-ARS, Dep. of Plant Pathology, 1509 Varsity Dr., North Carolina State Univ., Raleigh, NC 27606;
    U SDA-ARS, Dep. of Plant Pathology, North Carolina State Univ., Raleigh, NC 27606;



A 4.66-m diam., 3.6 m tall, cylindrical open-top field chamber was designed, constructed, and tested as a tool to measure the effects of air quality on plant function and yield. It is a larger version of the 3-m diam. chamber that has been used to measure the effects of gaseous pollutants on crop plants. The new chamber has an aluminum-channel frame covered with clear polyvinyl chloride plastic film. It is equipped with a frustum (truncated cone) that decreases ambient air ingress and can be fitted with a device to exclude rain (rain cap) for studies with simulated rain pH. During the daylight hours, the mean air temperature within the chamber was 0.6 °C greater than ambient on cloudy, cold days, 2.2 °C greater than ambient on partly cloudy, cool days, and 2.8 °C greater than ambient on sunny, warm days. The mean dew point temperature for a wide range of conditions was 0.7 ° greater inside than outside. Mean solar radiation in the chamber, with new plastic panels, was 15% less than ambient with a rain cap and 12% less with no rain cap. Charcoal filtration removed 78% of the O3 in ambient air; long-term measurements during charcoal filtration showed that the mean O3 concentration in the chamber (all positions and heights) was 77% less than ambient suggesting little or no long-term ingress through the top. Short-term gradients in O3 concentrations existed (mostly near the top of the chamber) during infrequent periods of strong winds. During addition of approximately 0.09 µL L−1 of O3 to nonfiltered air, the mean (14-d) O3 concentrations across all positions and heights varied by less than 0.005 µL L−1 of the overall mean.

Cooperative investigations of the USDA-ARS and the North Carolina State Univ. Paper no. 11974 of the Journal Series of the North Carolina Agric. Res. Serv., Raleigh, NC 27695-7643. This Research was partly supported by funds provided by the Southern Commercial Forest Res. Coop. within the joint USEPA-USDA Forest Service Response Program in cooperation with the National Council of the Pulp and Paper Industry for Air and Stream Improvement. The Forest Response Program is part of the National Acid Precipitation Assessment Program. This paper has not been subject to USEPA or Forest Service peer review and should not be construed to represent the policies of either Agency. The use of trade names in this publication does not imply endorsement by the North Carolina Agric. Res. Service or the USDA of the products named, nor criticism of similar ones not mentioned.

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