Condensational uptake of semivolatile organic compounds in gasoline engine exhaust onto pre-existing inorganic particles
1Air Quality Research Division, Atmospheric Science and Technology Directorate, Science and Technology Branch, Environment Canada, 4905 Dufferin Street, Toronto, Ontario, M3H 5T4, Canada
2Air Quality Research Division, Atmospheric Science and Technology Directorate, Science and Technology Branch, Environment Canada, 335 River Road, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0H3, Canada
*now at: Department of Chemistry, University of Christchurch, Canterbury 8041, New Zealand
Abstract. This paper presents the results of laboratory studies on the condensational uptake of gaseous organic compounds in the exhaust of a light-duty gasoline engine onto preexisting sulfate and nitrate seed particles. Significant condensation of the gaseous organic compounds in the exhaust occurs onto these inorganic particles on a time scale of 2–5 min. The amount of condensed organic mass (COM) is proportional to the seed particle mass, suggesting that the uptake is due to dissolution determined by the equilibrium partitioning between gas phase and particles, not adsorption. The amount of dissolution in unit seed mass, S, decreases as a power function with increased dilution of the exhaust, ranging from 0.23 g g−1 at a dilution ratio of 81, to 0.025 g g−1 at a dilution ratio of 2230. It increases nonlinearly with increasing concentration of the total hydrocarbons in the gas phase (THC), rising from 0.12 g g−1 to 0.26 g g−1 for a CTHC increase of 1 to 18 μg m−3, suggesting that more organics are partitioned into the particles at higher gas phase concentrations. In terms of gas-particle partitioning, the condensational uptake of THC gases in gasoline engine exhaust can account for up to 30% of the total gas + particle THC. The organic mass spectrum of COM has the largest fragment at m/z 44, with mass ratios of mass fragments 43/44 and 57/44 at 0.59 and 2.91, much lower than those reported for gasoline engine primary organic aerosols. The mass fragment 44/total organic mass ratio of 0.097 indicates that COM contains large oxygenated components. By incorporating the present findings, regional air quality modelling results suggest that the condensational uptake of THC onto sulfate particles alone can be comparable to the primary particle mass under moderately polluted ambient conditions. These findings are important for modelling and regulating the air quality impacts of gasoline vehicular emissions.