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Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-1160
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-1160
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 14 Apr 2020

Submitted as: research article | 14 Apr 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Laboratory studies of fresh and aged biomass burning aerosols emitted from east African biomass fuels – Part 2: Chemical properties and characterization

Damon M. Smith1,2,a, Tianqu Cui4,b, Marc N. Fiddler3, Rudra Pokhrel1, Jason D. Surratt4, and Solomon Bililign1 Damon M. Smith et al.
  • 1Department of Physics, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, Greensboro, NC, 27411 USA
  • 2Applied Sciences and Technology Program, North Carolina A&T State University, Greensboro, NC 27411, USA
  • 3Department of Chemistry, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, Greensboro, NC, 27411, USA
  • 4Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, 27599 USA
  • acurrent address: Department of Chemistry and Physics, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, NC 28723, USA
  • bcurrent address: Laboratory of Atmospheric Chemistry, Paul Scherrer Institute, Villigen 5232, Switzerland

Abstract. There are many fuels used for domestic purposes in east Africa, producing a significant atmospheric burden of the resulting aerosols, which includes biomass burning particles. However, the aerosol physicochemical properties are poorly understood. Here, combustion of Eucalyptus and Acacia fuels was performed at 500 and 800 °C in a tube furnace, followed by immediate filter collection for fresh samples or introduction into a photochemical chamber to simulate atmospheric photochemical aging under the influence of anthropogenic emissions. The aerosol generated in the latter experiment was collected onto filters after 12 hours of photochemical aging. 500 and 800 °C were selected to simulate smoldering and flaming combustion, respectively, and to cover a range of combustion conditions. Methanol extracts from Teflon filters were analyzed by ultra-performance liquid chromatography interfaced to both a diode array detector and an electrospray ionization high-resolution quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometer (UPLC/DAD-ESI-HR-QTOFMS) to determine the light-absorption properties of biomass burning organic aerosol constituents chemically characterized at the molecular level. Few chemical or UV/Visible differences were apparent between samples for either fuel when combusted at 800 °C. Differences in single scattering albedo (SSA) between fresh samples at this temperature were attributed to compounds not captured in this analysis, with eucalyptol being one suspected missing component. For fresh combustion at 500 °C, many species were present, where lignin pyrolysis and distillation products are more prevalent in Eucalyptus, while pyrolysis products of cellulose and at least one nitroaromatic species were more prevalent in Acacia. SSA trends are consistent with this, particularly if the absorption of those chromophores extends to the 500–570 nm region. Upon aging, both show that resorcinol or catechol was removed to the highest degree, and both aerosol types were dominated by loss of pyrolysis and distillation products, though both differed in the specific compounds being consumed by the photochemical aging process.

Damon M. Smith et al.

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Damon M. Smith et al.

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Short summary
There are many fuels used for domestic purposes in east Africa, producing a significant atmospheric burden of the resulting aerosols, which includes biomass burning particles. The chemical properties of these aerosols have not been investigated in the laboratory. In this work filter samples were collected from a smog chamber and methanol extracts from filters were analyzed to determine the light-absorption properties of biomass burning organic aerosol constituents.
There are many fuels used for domestic purposes in east Africa, producing a significant...
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