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Advances in Meteorology
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 8512146, 9 pages
Research Article

Morphological and Chemical Properties of Particulate Matter in the Dammam Metropolitan Region: Dhahran, Khobar, and Dammam, Saudi Arabia

1Geosciences Department, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM), Dhahran 31261, Saudi Arabia
2Department of Industrial Hygiene, College of Engineering, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV 26505, USA
3Physics Department, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM), Dhahran 31261, Saudi Arabia
4Department of Physics, Faculty of Science, Alexandria University, Alexandria, Egypt

Correspondence should be addressed to Ashraf M. Farahat

Received 9 July 2017; Revised 6 November 2017; Accepted 16 November 2017; Published 20 December 2017

Academic Editor: Junshik Um

Copyright © 2017 Bassam S. Tawabini et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Characteristics of airborne particulate matter (PM) as well as its levels in air samples collected from selected sites within cities of Dhahran, Khobar, and Dammam, in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, are investigated. Concentration levels of the 10 microns’ PM (i.e., PM10) are determined using the gravimetric technique. Morphological and chemical characteristics of the PM collected from the sampling cities are studied using Field-Emission Scanning Electron Microscopy (FESEM), energy dispersive X-ray (EDX), and X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF). Moreover, levels and types of hazardous materials related to these samples are assessed using Inductively Coupled Plasma-Optical Emission Spectroscopy (ICP-OES). Results revealed that the average concentration levels of PM10 were approximately 177, 380, and 126 μg/m3 in Dhahran, Khobar, and Dammam, respectively. The structure of PM collected in Dhahran was mainly platy and rod-like shaped with a size between 2 and 6 μm, while PM collected in Khobar was mostly irregular in form, with a size range between 2 and 8 μm, and Dammam’s PM was rounded and between 1 and 3 μm in size. Both EDX and XRF results indicate relatively high weight % of C, O, Si, F, and Ca with lower weight % of Na, Mg, and K at the 3 cities. Finally, the study shows that Ba and Zn were the main trace metals associated with the collected PM in the 3 cities.