Journal cover Journal topic
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 11, 11477-11496, 2011
© Author(s) 2011. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
18 Nov 2011
Volatility and hygroscopicity of aging secondary organic aerosol in a smog chamber
T. Tritscher1, J. Dommen1, P. F. DeCarlo1,*, M. Gysel1, P. B. Barmet1, A. P. Praplan1, E. Weingartner1, A. S. H. Prévôt1, I. Riipinen2,3, N. M. Donahue3, and U. Baltensperger1 1Laboratory of Atmospheric Chemistry, Paul Scherrer Institut, Villigen, Switzerland
2Department of Physics, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
3Department of Chemical Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
*now at: Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA, USA
Abstract. The evolution of secondary organic aerosols (SOA) during (photo-)chemical aging processes was investigated in a smog chamber. Fresh SOA from ozonolysis of 10 to 40 ppb α-pinene was formed followed by aging with OH radicals. The particles' volatility and hygroscopicity (expressed as volume fraction remaining (VFR) and hygroscopicity parameter κ) were measured in parallel with a volatility and hygroscopicity tandem differential mobility analyzer (V/H-TDMA). An aerosol mass spectrometer (AMS) was used for the chemical characterization of the aerosol. These measurements were used as sensitive parameters to reveal the mechanisms possibly responsible for the changes in the SOA composition during aging. A change of VFR and/or κ during processing of atmospheric aerosols may occur either by addition of SOA mass (by condensation) or by a change of SOA composition leading to different aerosol properties. The latter may occur either by heterogeneous reactions on the surface of the SOA particles, by condensed phase reactions like oligomerization or by an evaporation – gas-phase oxidation – recondensation cycle. The condensation mechanism showed to be dominant when there is a substantial change in the aerosol mass by addition of new molecules to the aerosol phase with time. Experiments could be divided into four periods based on the temporal evolution (qualitative changes) of VFR, κ and organic mass: O3 induced condensation, ripening, and OH induced chemical aging first with substantial mass gain and then without significant mass gain.

During the O3 induced condensation the particles' volatility decreased (increasing VFR) while the hygroscopicity increased. Thereafter, in the course of ripening volatility continued to decrease, but hygroscopicity stayed roughly constant. After exposing the SOA to OH radicals an OH induced chemical aging with substantial mass gain started resulting in the production of at least 50 % more SOA mass. This new SOA mass was highly volatile and oxidized. This period was then followed by further OH induced chemical aging without significant mass gain leading to a decrease of volatility while hygroscopicity and SOA mass stayed roughly constant.

Citation: Tritscher, T., Dommen, J., DeCarlo, P. F., Gysel, M., Barmet, P. B., Praplan, A. P., Weingartner, E., Prévôt, A. S. H., Riipinen, I., Donahue, N. M., and Baltensperger, U.: Volatility and hygroscopicity of aging secondary organic aerosol in a smog chamber, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 11, 11477-11496, doi:10.5194/acp-11-11477-2011, 2011.
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