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Discussion papers | Copyright
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2018-1053
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 19 Oct 2018

Research article | 19 Oct 2018

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This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

Effect of salt seed particle surface area, composition and phase on secondary organic aerosol mass yields in oxidation flow reactors

Erik Ahlberg1,2, Axel Eriksson3, William H. Brune4, Pontus Roldin2, and Birgitta Svenningsson2 Erik Ahlberg et al.
  • 1Centre for Environmental and Climate Research, Lund University, Sölvegatan 37, 223 52 Lund, Sweden
  • 2Division of Nuclear Physics, Lund University, Box 118, 221 00 Lund, Sweden
  • 3Ergonomics and Aerosol Technology, Lund University, Box 118, 221 00 Lund, Sweden
  • 4Department of Meteorology, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, United States

Abstract. Atmospheric particulate water is ubiquitous, affecting particle transport and uptake of gases. Yet, research on the effect of water on secondary organic aerosol (SOA) mass yields is not consistent. In this study the SOA mass yields of an α-pinene and m-xylene mixture, at a concentration of 60μgm−3, was examined using an oxidation flow reactor operated at an atmospherically relevant RH of 60% and a residence time of 160s. Wet or dried ammonium sulphate and ammonium nitrate seed particles were used. By varying the amount of seed particle surface area, the underestimation of SOA formation induced by the short residence time in flow reactors was confirmed. Starting at a SOA mass concentration of ~5μgm−3, the maximum yield increased a factor ~2 with dry seed particles, and on average a factor 3.2 with wet seed particles. Hence, wet particles increased the SOA mass yield by ~60% compared to the dry experiment. Maximum yield in the reactor was achieved using a surface area concentration of ~1600μm2cm−3. This corresponded to a condensational lifetime of 20s for low volatile organics. The O:C ratio of SOA on wet ammonium sulphate was significantly higher than when using ammonium nitrate or dry ammonium sulphate seed particles, probably due to differences in heterogeneous chemistry.

Erik Ahlberg et al.
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Short summary
The effects of wet or dry salt seed particle concentration (ammonium nitrate and ammonium sulphate) on secondary organic aerosol mass yields from a mixture of m-xylene and α-pinene were examined in an oxidation flow reactor. The experiments confirmed that increasing the condensation sink significantly increases the particle mass yields in oxidation flow reactors. Further, wet seed particles increased the particle mass yield by 60 % more than dry particles.
The effects of wet or dry salt seed particle concentration (ammonium nitrate and ammonium...
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