Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Oxidative aging of mixed oleic acid/sodium chloride aerosol particles

Benjamin J. Dennis-Smither, Rachael E. H. Miles, Jonathan P. Reid

Studies of the oxidative aging of single mixed component aerosol particles formed from oleic acid (OL) and sodium chloride over a range of relative humidities (RH) and ozone concentrations by aerosol optical tweezers are reported. The rate of loss of OL and changes in the organic phase volume are directly measured, comparing particles with effloresced and deliquesced inorganic seeds. The kinetics of the OL loss are analyzed and the value of the reactive uptake coefficient of ozone by OL is compared to previous studies. The reaction of OL is accompanied by a decrease in the particle volume, consistent with the evaporation of semivolatile products over a time scale of tens of thousands of seconds. Measurements of the change in the organic phase volume allow the branching ratio to involatile components to be estimated; between 50 and 85% of the initial organic volume remains involatile, depending on ozone concentration. The refractive index (RI) of the organic phase increases during and after evaporation of volatile products, consistent with aging followed by a slow restructuring in particle morphology. The hygroscopicity of the particle and kinetics of the response of the organic phase to changes in RH are investigated. Both size and RI of unoxidized and oxidized particles respond promptly to RH changes with values of the RI consistent with linear mixing rules. Such studies of the simultaneous changes in composition and size of mixed component aerosol provide valuable data for benchmarking kinetic models of heterogeneous atmospheric aging.

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