Evaluation of the UNC toluene-SOA mechanism with respect to other chamber studies and key model parameters

Di Hu, Richard M. Kamens*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In a companion paper by Hu et al. [2007. A kinetic mechanism for predicting secondary organic aerosol formation from toluene oxidation in the presence of NOx and natural sunlight. Atmospheric Environment, doi:10.1016/j.atmosenv.2007.04.025], a kinetic mechanism was developed from data generated in the University of North Carolina's (UNC) 270 m3 dual outdoor aerosol smog chamber, to predict secondary organic aerosol (SOA) formation from toluene oxidation in the atmosphere. In this paper, experimental data sets from European Photoreactor (EUPHORE), smog chambers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), and the UNC 300 m3 dual-outdoor gas phase chamber were used to evaluate the toluene mechanism. The model simulates SOA formation for the ‘low-NOx’ and ‘mid-NOx’ experiments from EUPHORE chambers reasonably well, but over-predicts SOA mass concentrations for the ‘high-NOx’ run. The model well simulates the SOA mass concentrations observed from the Caltech chambers. Experiments with the three key toluene products, 1,4-butenedial, 4-oxo-2-pentenal and o-cresol in the presence of oxides of nitrogen (NOx) are also simulated by the developed mechanism. The model well predicts the NOx time–concentration profiles and the decay of these two carbonyls, but underestimates ozone (O3) formation for 4-oxo-2-pentenal. It well simulates SOA formation from 1,4-butenedial but overestimates (possibly due to experimental problems) the measured aerosol mass concentrations from 4-oxo-2-pentenal. The model underestimates SOA production from o-cresol, mostly due to its under-prediction of o-cresol decay. The effects of varying temperature, relative humidity, glyoxal uptake, organic nitrate yields, and background seed aerosol concentrations, were also investigated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6465-6477
Number of pages13
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Volume41
Issue number31
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2007
Externally publishedYes

User-Defined Keywords

  • Toluene
  • kinetic mechanism
  • aerosol modelling
  • secondary organic aerosol (SOA)

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