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Title: New particle formation from sulfuric acid and amines: Comparison of monomethylamine, dimethylamine, and trimethylamine: Particle Formation From Different Amines
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Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
7103 to 7118
Wiley Blackwell (John Wiley & Sons)
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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  1. Recent research in atmospheric chemistry suggested that gaseous amines may rapidly react with the acidic components in the aerosol to be incorporated in the particle phase. However, laboratory experiments suggested that these heterogeneous processes may be sensitive to the reaction conditions, such as relative humidity (RH), the initial aerosol acidity and the initial concentration of gaseous ammonia which is ubiquitous in the atmosphere. We studied the heterogenous reactions between several amines and ammonium sulfate using a series of thermodynamic simulations under varying initial conditions, including RH, particle-phase acidity and gaseous amine and ammonia concentrations. Several distinctively different trends in the particle-phase ammonium, amines and water content were observed, depending significantly on the particle-phase acidity and the initial amine to ammonia mole ratio. One notable observation was that alkylamines may facilitate the water uptake of ammonium sulfate even in the presence of 1000 times more ammonia gas. Such change in aerosol water content may alter the surface tension, uptake coefficient and could formation properties of aerosol and influence the radiative forcing of the particles.
  2. A major fraction of atmospheric aerosol particles, which affect both air quality and climate, form from gaseous precursors in the atmosphere. Highly oxygenated organic molecules (HOMs), formed by oxidation of biogenic volatile organic compounds, are known to participate in particle formation and growth. However, it is not well understood how they interact with atmospheric pollutants, such as nitrogen oxides (NO x ) and sulfur oxides (SO x ) from fossil fuel combustion, as well as ammonia (NH 3 ) from livestock and fertilizers. Here, we show how NO x suppresses particle formation, while HOMs, sulfuric acid, and NH 3 have a synergistic enhancing effect on particle formation. We postulate a novel mechanism, involving HOMs, sulfuric acid, and ammonia, which is able to closely reproduce observations of particle formation and growth in daytime boreal forest and similar environments. The findings elucidate the complex interactions between biogenic and anthropogenic vapors in the atmospheric aerosol system.