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Environmental science & technology

Chemical sinks of organic aerosol: kinetics and products of the heterogeneous oxidation of erythritol and levoglucosan.


PMID 20707414

Abstract

The heterogeneous oxidation of pure erythritol (C(4)H(10)O(4)) and levoglucosan (C(6)H(10)O(5)) particles was studied in order to evaluate the effects of atmospheric aging on the mass and chemical composition of atmospheric organic aerosol. In contrast to what is generally observed for the heterogeneous oxidation of reduced organics, substantial volatilization is observed in both systems. However, the ratio of the decrease in particle mass to the decrease in the concentration of the parent species is about three times higher for erythritol than for levoglucosan, indicating that details of chemical structure (such as carbon number, cyclic moieties, and oxygen-containing functional groups) play a governing role in the importance of volatilization reactions. The kinetics of the reaction indicate that while both compounds react at approximately the same rate, reactions of their oxidation products appear to be slowed substantially. Estimates of volatilities of organic species based on elemental composition measurements suggest that the heterogeneous oxidation of oxygenated organics may be an important loss mechanism of organic aerosol.

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