Dr. Andrew Grieshop

Dr. Andy Grieshop

Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering

Phone: 919-513-1181
Instructor Website
Research Website

CE 579 Principles of Air Quality Engineering

3 Credit Hours

The topics covered in this course include air quality management issues, sources of air pollutants, atmospheric physics and chemistry and their relationship to pollutant transport and transformations, air quality meteorology, and air pollutant dispersion modeling. Students will learn about the major types of regulations that motivate the need to estimate and measure atmospheric air quality, the major types of pollutants that are regulated by such air quality standards (e.g., sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, tropospheric ozone, and lead), the major emission sources for such pollutants, the role of anthropogenic and biogenic sources in global chemical cycles, gas and aqueous-phase chemistry in the atmosphere, basic principles of meteorology as applied to air quality (including energy balance, winds, temperature, equations of motion, and atmospheric diffusion), the fundamentals and practical aspects of commonly used air quality models and linkages between air pollution and global climate change.


It is assumed that you have had a college-level chemistry course and that you are familiar with basic calculus and reaction kinetics.

Course Objectives

Students completing this course will be able to: (1) identify major types of air quality problems based upon types of pollutants, chemical transformations, and temporal and spatial scales; (2) apply mass and energy balance, chemical equilibrium, and chemical kinetic concepts to estimating pollutant emission rates; (3) apply similar concepts to estimating the formation of secondary pollutants (e.g., ozone); (4) classify, compare, and evaluate alternative air quality models; (5) develop and apply simplified air quality models for both non-reactive and reactive pollutants; and (6) identify and evaluate control strategies for mitigating atmospheric air pollution problems.

Course Requirements

Homework Assignments:
Approximately 6 to 8

2 in-class plus one comprehensive final exam

Term Project Required

Course Outline

Air Quality Management

  • Air Pollutants
  • Atmospheric Concentrations of Pollutants
  • Effects of Air Pollutants (Risk Assessment)
  • Air Pollution Regulation
  • Introduction to emissions

Mass Balances and Box Models

  • Mass Balance
  • Box Models
  • Burden, sources, sinks and lifetimes

Air Quality Meteorology

  • Structure of the atmosphere
  • Atmospheric stability
  • Energy Balance
  • Equations of Motion
  • Atmospheric Diffusion

Dispersion of Air Pollutants

  • Gaussian Plume Equation
  • Atmospheric Diffusion Equation
  • Air Quality Models

Atmospheric Chemistry

  • Gas Phase Chemistry
  • Oxides of Nitrogen
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Organic/NO x Chemistry — Smog
  • Air Quality Modeling for Reactive Pollutants
  • Atmospheric Aerosols


  • Receptor-based modeling
  • Eulerian and Langrangian air quality models

Linkages between air pollution and climate change


Readings to be provided via electronic reserve and course website.

Computer and Software Requirements

Please review the minimum computer specifications that NC State University and Engineering Online recommend.

Updated: 10/31/2022