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Air Pollution Engineering

PhD student Roshan Wathore setting up air pollution control equipment to measure indoor air quality in a rural Malawi village.

Globally, air pollution is responsible for over four million premature deaths annually. Air pollutants are a complex mix of chemicals emitted by human and natural sources and formed in the atmosphere; all may contribute to climate change and damage to ecosystems, agriculture, and building materials. Addressing these impacts requires an understanding of both the emission sources and the processes that transform the emissions in the atmosphere. For example, emissions from diverse sources contribute to the photochemical formation of secondary pollutants, such as tropospheric ozone and secondary particulate matter, each with established impacts on health, livelihoods, and the climate. Over $30 billion is spent annually on air pollution control in the United States alone. Federal, state, and local environmental regulations aim to reduce emissions and impacts of pollutants such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, heavy metal trace species, volatile organic compounds, and hydrocarbons.

Air pollution engineering consists of two major components: (1) air pollution control and (2) air quality engineering. Air pollution control focuses on the fundamentals of air pollutant formation in process technologies and the identification of options for mitigating or preventing air pollutant emissions. Air quality engineering deals with large-scale, multi-source control strategies, with a focus on the physics and chemistry of pollutant interactions in the atmosphere. EWC research in these areas includes computational modeling and field and laboratory measurement projects, with scopes spanning from individual emission sources to global impacts. Individualized programs of study in air pollution engineering may draw on courses in Civil and Environmental Engineering, as well as from other NCSU departments (e.g. Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Statistics) and local universities (UNC-Chapel Hill, Duke University).

Suggested Core Courses

  • CE 576 Engineering Principles of Air Pollution Control
  • CE 579 Air Quality Engineering
  • CE 772 Environmental Exposure and Risk Analysis
  • CE 779 Advanced Air Quality

Suggested Core Electives

  • CE 596 Energy and Climate
  • CE 775 Modeling and Analysis of Environmental Systems
  • CE 776 Advanced Water Management Systems
  • CHE 575 Advances in Pollution Prevention
  • CHE 576 Life Cycle and Sustainability Concepts for the Environment
  • MEA 510 Air Pollution Meteorology
  • MEA 580 Air Quality Modeling and Forecasting
  • MEA 703 Atmospheric Aerosols
  • MEA 710 Atmospheric Dispersion

Suggested Technical Electives

  • CE 536 Introduction to Numerical Methods for Civil Engineers
  • CE 537 Computer Methods and Applications
  • CE 538 Information Technology and Modeling
  • CE 571 Physical Principles of Environmental Engineering
  • CE 577 Engineering Principles of Solid Waste Management
  • EC 436 Environmental Economics
  • GIS 510 Introduction to Geographic Information Science
  • MAE 406 Energy Conservation in Industry
  • MAE 408 Internal Combustion Engine Fundamentals
  • MAE 412 Design of Thermal Systems
  • MAE 503 Advanced Power Plants
  • PA 550 Environmental Policy
  • ST 515 Experimental Statistics for Engineers I
  • ST 516 Experimental Statistics for Engineers II