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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 21, 2023
  2. Abstract. Oxidation flow reactors (OFRs) are a promising complement toenvironmental chambers for investigating atmospheric oxidation processes andsecondary aerosol formation. However, questions have been raised about howrepresentative the chemistry within OFRs is of that in the troposphere. Weinvestigate the fates of organic peroxy radicals (RO2), which playa central role in atmospheric organic chemistry, in OFRs and environmentalchambers by chemical kinetic modeling and compare to a variety of ambientconditions to help define a range of atmospherically relevant OFR operatingconditions. For most types of RO2, their bimolecular fates in OFRsare mainly RO2+HO2 and RO2+NO, similar to chambers andatmospheric studies. For substituted primary RO2 and acylRO2, RO2+RO2 can make a significant contribution tothe fate of RO2 in OFRs, chambers and the atmosphere, butRO2+RO2 in OFRs is in general somewhat less important than inthe atmosphere. At high NO, RO2+NO dominates RO2 fate inOFRs, as in the atmosphere. At a high UV lamp setting in OFRs,RO2+OH can be a major RO2 fate and RO2isomerization can be negligible for common multifunctional RO2,both of which deviate from common atmospheric conditions. In the OFR254operation mode (for which OH is generated only from the photolysismore »of addedO3), we cannot identify any conditions that can simultaneouslyavoid significant organic photolysis at 254 nm and lead to RO2lifetimes long enough (∼ 10 s) to allow atmospherically relevantRO2 isomerization. In the OFR185 mode (for which OH is generatedfrom reactions initiated by 185 nm photons), high relative humidity, low UVintensity and low precursor concentrations are recommended for theatmospherically relevant gas-phase chemistry of both stable species andRO2. These conditions ensure minor or negligible RO2+OHand a relative importance of RO2 isomerization in RO2fate in OFRs within ×2 of that in the atmosphere. Under theseconditions, the photochemical age within OFR185 systems can reach a fewequivalent days at most, encompassing the typical ages for maximum secondaryorganic aerosol (SOA) production. A small increase in OFR temperature mayallow the relative importance of RO2 isomerization to approach theambient values. To study the heterogeneous oxidation of SOA formed underatmospherically relevant OFR conditions, a different UV source with higherintensity is needed after the SOA formation stage, which can be done withanother reactor in series. Finally, we recommend evaluating the atmosphericrelevance of RO2 chemistry by always reporting measured and/orestimated OH, HO2, NO, NO2 and OH reactivity (or at leastprecursor composition and concentration) in all chamber and flow reactorexperiments. An easy-to-use RO2 fate estimator program is includedwith this paper to facilitate the investigation of this topic in futurestudies.

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