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Title: Modeling kinetic partitioning of secondary organic aerosol and size distribution dynamics: representing effects of volatility, phase state, and particle-phase reaction

Evidence is mounting that the majority of the climatically active aerosols are produced through the growth of smaller particles via secondary organic aerosol (SOA) formation from gas-to-particle conversion of anthropogenic and biogenic volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The timescale of SOA partitioning and the associated size distribution dynamics are expected to depend on the gas-phase oxidation of the precursor VOCs and their products, volatility of these organic solutes, composition and phase state of the pre-existing particles, and diffusivity and reactivity of the solute within the particle phase. This paper describes a new framework for modeling kinetic gas-particle partitioning of SOA, with an analytical treatment for the diffusion-reaction process within the particle phase. The formulation is amenable for eventual use in regional and global climate models, although it currently awaits implementation of the actual particle-phase reactions that are important for SOA formation. In the present work, the model is applied to investigate the competitive growth dynamics of the Aitken and accumulation mode particles while the Kelvin effect and coagulation are neglected for simplicity. The timescale of SOA partitioning and evolution of number and composition size distributions are evaluated for a range of solute volatilities (C*), particle-phase bulk diffusivities (Db), and particle-phase reactivity,more » as exemplified by a pseudo-first-order rate constant (kc). Results show that irreversible condensation of non-volatile organic vapors (equivalent to ) produces significant narrowing of the size distribution. At the other extreme, non-reactive partitioning of semi-volatile organic vapors is volume-controlled in which the final (equilibrium) size distribution simply shifts to the right on the diameter axis while its shape remains unchanged. However, appreciable narrowing of the size distribution may occur when the pre-existing particles are highly viscous semi-solids such that small particles reach quasi-equilibrium much faster than the large ones. In the case of reactive partitioning (finite ), the size distribution experiences permanent narrowing, which is especially pronounced for Db < 10-13 cm2 s-1 and kc > 0.01 s-1. As a result, both number and composition size distributions are needed to effectively constrain and evaluate the next generation of SOA models that treat phase state thermodynamics, particle-phase diffusion and particle-phase chemical reactions.« less
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Journal Article
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Journal Name: Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 14(10):5153–5181
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
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Country of Publication:
United States