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Simulating the formation of secondary organic aerosol from the photooxidation of aromatic hydrocarbons

Johnson, D., Jenkin, M.E., Wirtz, K. and Martin-Reviejo, M. (2005) Simulating the formation of secondary organic aerosol from the photooxidation of aromatic hydrocarbons. Environmental Chemistry, 2 (1). pp. 35-48. ISSN 1448-2517

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1071/EN04079


The formation and composition of secondary organic aerosol (SOA) from the photooxidation of benzene, p-xylene, and 1,3,5-trimethylbenzene has been simulated using the Master Chemical Mechanism version 3.1 (MCM v3.1) coupled to a representation of the transfer of organic material from the gas to particle phase. The combined mechanism was tested against data obtained from a series of experiments conducted at the European Photoreactor (EUPHORE) outdoor smog chamber in Valencia, Spain. Simulated aerosol mass concentrations compared reasonably well with the measured SOA data only after absorptive partitioning coefficients were increased by a factor of between 5 and 30. The requirement of such scaling was interpreted in terms of the occurrence of unaccounted-for association reactions in the condensed organic phase leading to the production of relatively more nonvolatile species. Comparisons were made between the relative aerosol forming efficiencies of benzene, toluene, p-xylene, and 1,3,5-trimethylbenzene, and differences in the OH-initiated degradation mechanisms of these aromatic hydrocarbons. A strong, nonlinear relationship was observed between measured (reference) yields of SOA and (proportional) yields of unsaturated dicarbonyl aldehyde species resulting from ring-fragmenting pathways. This observation, and the results of the simulations, is strongly suggestive of the involvement of reactive aldehyde species in association reactions occurring in the aerosol phase, thus promoting SOA formation and growth. The effect of NO, concentrations on SOA formation efficiencies (and formation mechanisms) is discussed.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy > Department of Chemistry
ID Code:11368
Uncontrolled Keywords:aerosols, atmospheric chemistry, kinetics, modelling (processes), oxidation, secondary organic aerosol , MASTER CHEMICAL MECHANISM, GAS-PHASE, HETEROGENEOUS REACTIONS, TROPOSPHERIC CHEMISTRY, PEROXY-RADICALS, OH RADICALS, M-XYLENE, MCM V3, BENZENE, KINETICS

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