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  1. Flow tube reactors are widely employed to study gas-phase atmospheric chemistry and secondary organic aerosol (SOA) formation. The development of a new laminar-flow tube reactor, the Caltech Photooxidation Flow Tube (CPOT), intended for the study of gas-phase atmospheric chemistry and SOA formation, is reported here. The present work addresses the reactor design based on fluid dynamical characterization and the fundamental behavior of vapor molecules and particles in the reactor. The design of the inlet to the reactor, based on computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations, comprises a static mixer and a conical diffuser to facilitate development of a characteristic laminar flow profile. To assess the extent to which the actual performance adheres to the theoretical CFD model, residence time distribution (RTD) experiments are reported with vapor molecules (O3) and submicrometer ammonium sulfate particles. As confirmed by the CFD prediction, the presence of a slight deviation from strictly isothermal conditions leads to secondary flows in the reactor that produce deviations from the ideal parabolic laminar flow. The characterization experiments, in conjunction with theory, provide a basis for interpretation of atmospheric chemistry and SOA studies to follow. A 1-D photochemical model within an axially dispersed plug flow reactor (AD-PFR) framework is formulated tomore »evaluate the oxidation level in the reactor. The simulation indicates that the OH concentration is uniform along the reactor, and an OH exposure (OHexp) ranging from ∼ 109 to ∼ 1012 molecules cm−3 s can be achieved from photolysis of H2O2. A method to calculate OHexp with a consideration for the axial dispersion in the present photochemical system is developed.« less
  2. Hydroxyl radical (OH) oxidation of toluene produces ring-retaining products: cresol and benzaldehyde, and ring-opening products: bicyclic intermediate compounds and epoxides. Here, first- and later-generation OH oxidation products from cresol and benzaldehyde are identified in laboratory chamber experiments. For benzaldehyde, first-generation ring-retaining products are identified, but later-generation products are not detected. For cresol, low-volatility (saturation mass concentration, C* ∼ 3.5  ×  104 − 7.7  ×  10−3 µg m−3), first- and later-generation ring-retaining products are identified. Subsequent OH addition to the aromatic ring of o-cresol leads to compounds such as hydroxy, dihydroxy, and trihydroxy methyl benzoquinones and dihydroxy, trihydroxy, tetrahydroxy, and pentahydroxy toluenes. These products are detected in the gas phase by chemical ionization mass spectrometry (CIMS) and in the particle phase using offline direct analysis in real-time mass spectrometry (DART-MS). Our data suggest that the yield of trihydroxy toluene from dihydroxy toluene is substantial. While an exact yield cannot be reported as authentic standards are unavailable, we find that a yield for trihydroxy toluene from dihydroxy toluene of ∼ 0.7 (equal to the reported yield of dihydroxy toluene from o-cresol; Olariu et al., 2002) is consistent with experimental results for o-cresol oxidation under low-NO conditions. These results suggest that even though the cresol pathway accounts for only ∼ 20 % of the oxidation products of toluene, it ismore »the source of a significant fraction (∼ 20–40 %) of toluene secondary organic aerosol (SOA) due to the formation of low-volatility products.« less