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Volume 13, issue 15
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 13, 7845-7858, 2013
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-13-7845-2013
© Author(s) 2013. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 13, 7845-7858, 2013
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-13-7845-2013
© Author(s) 2013. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 14 Aug 2013

Research article | 14 Aug 2013

Online measurements of the emissions of intermediate-volatility and semi-volatile organic compounds from aircraft

E. S. Cross1, J. F. Hunter1, A. J. Carrasquillo1, J. P. Franklin1, S. C. Herndon3, J. T. Jayne3, D. R. Worsnop3, R. C. Miake-Lye3, and J. H. Kroll1,2 E. S. Cross et al.
  • 1Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA
  • 2Department of Chemical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA
  • 3Aerodyne Research, Inc., Billerica, MA, USA

Abstract. A detailed understanding of the climate and air quality impacts of aviation requires measurements of the emissions of intermediate-volatility and semi-volatile organic compounds (I/SVOCs) from aircraft. Currently both the amount and chemical composition of aircraft I/SVOC emissions remain poorly characterized. Here we characterize I/SVOC emissions from aircraft, using a novel instrument for the online, quantitative measurement of the mass loading and composition of low-volatility organic vapors. Emissions from the NASA DC8 aircraft were sampled on the ground 143 m downwind of the engines and characterized as a function of engine power from idle (4% maximum rated thrust) through 85% power. Results show that I/SVOC emissions are highest during engine idle operating conditions, with decreasing but non-zero I/SVOC emissions at higher engine powers. Comparison of I/SVOC emissions with total hydrocarbon (THC) measurements, VOC measurements, and an established emissions profile indicates that I/SVOCs comprise 10–20% of the total organic gas-phase emissions at idle, and an increasing fraction of the total gas-phase organic emissions at higher powers. Positive matrix factorization of online mass spectra is used to identify three distinct types of I/SVOC emissions: aliphatic, aromatic and oxygenated. The volatility and chemical composition of the emissions suggest that unburned fuel is the dominant source of I/SVOCs at idle, while pyrolysis products make up an increasing fraction of the I/SVOCs at higher powers. Oxygenated I/SVOC emissions were detected at lower engine powers (≤30%) and may be linked to cracked, partially oxidized or unburned fuel components.

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