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Title: Modeling of the chemistry in oxidation flow reactors with high initial NO

Oxidation flow reactors (OFRs) are increasingly employed in atmospheric chemistry research because of their high efficiency of OH radical production from low-pressure Hg lamp emissions at both 185 and 254 nm (OFR185) or 254 nm only (OFR254). OFRs have been thought to be limited to studying low-NO chemistry (in which peroxy radicals (RO 2) react preferentially with HO 2) because NO is very rapidly oxidized by the high concentrations of O 3, HO 2, and OH in OFRs. However, many groups are performing experiments by aging combustion exhaust with high NO levels or adding NO in the hopes of simulating high-NO chemistry (in which RO 2 + NO dominates). This work systematically explores the chemistry in OFRs with high initial NO. Using box modeling, we investigate the interconversion of N-containing species and the uncertainties due to kinetic parameters. Simple initial injection of NO in OFR185 can result in more RO 2 reacted with NO than with HO 2 and minor non-tropospheric photolysis, but only under a very narrow set of conditions (high water mixing ratio, low UV intensity, low external OH reactivity (OHR ext), and initial NO concentration (NO in) of tens to hundreds of ppb) that account for a very small fraction of the input parameter space. Thesemore » conditions are generally far away from experimental conditions of published OFR studies with high initial NO. In particular, studies of aerosol formation from vehicle emissions in OFRs often used OHR ext and NO in several orders of magnitude higher. Due to extremely high OHR ext and NO in, some studies may have resulted in substantial non-tropospheric photolysis, strong delay to RO 2 chemistry due to peroxynitrate formation, VOC reactions with NO 3 dominating over those with OH, and faster reactions of OH–aromatic adducts with NO 2 than those with O 2, all of which are irrelevant to ambient VOC photooxidation chemistry. Some of the negative effects are the worst for alkene and aromatic precursors. To avoid undesired chemistry, vehicle emissions generally need to be diluted by a factor of >100 before being injected into an OFR. However, sufficiently diluted vehicle emissions generally do not lead to high-NO chemistry in OFRs but are rather dominated by the low-NO RO 2 + HO 2 pathway. To ensure high-NO conditions without substantial atmospherically irrelevant chemistry in a more controlled fashion, new techniques are needed.« less
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Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
SC0011105; SC0016559
Published Article
Journal Name:
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (Online)
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (Online) Journal Volume: 17 Journal Issue: 19; Journal ID: ISSN 1680-7324
European Geosciences Union
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23)
Country of Publication:
OSTI Identifier: