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Open Access A New Aerosol Flow System for Photochemical and Thermal Studies of Tropospheric Aerosols

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For studying the formation and photochemical/thermal reactions of aerosols relevant to the troposphere, a unique, high-volume, slow-flow, stainless steel aerosol flow system equipped with UV lamps has been constructed and characterized experimentally. The total flow system length is 8.5 m and includes a 1.2 m section used for mixing, a 6.1 m reaction section and a 1.2 m transition cone at the end. The 45.7 cm diameter results in a smaller surface to volume ratio than is found in many other flow systems and thus reduces the potential contribution from wall reactions. The latter are also reduced by frequent cleaning of the flow tube walls which is made feasible by the ease of disassembly. The flow tube is equipped with ultraviolet lamps for photolysis. This flow system allows continuous sampling under stable conditions, thus increasing the amount of sample available for analysis and permitting a wide variety of analytical techniques to be applied simultaneously. The residence time is of the order of an hour, and sampling ports located along the length of the flow tube allow for time-resolved measurements of aerosol and gas-phase products. The system was characterized using both an “inert” gas (CO2) and particles (atomized NaNO3). Instruments interfaced directly to this flow system include a NOx analyzer, an ozone analyzer, relative humidity and temperature probes, a scanning mobility particle sizer spectrometer, an aerodynamic particle sizer spectrometer, a gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer, an integrating nephelometer, and a Fourier transform infrared spectrophotometer equipped with a long path (64 m) cell. Particles collected with impactors and filters at the various sampling ports can be analyzed subsequently by a variety of techniques. Formation of secondary organic aerosol from α-pinene reactions (NOx photooxidation and ozonolysis) are used to demonstrate the capabilities of this new system.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Chemistry, University of California Irvine, Irvine, California, USA 2: California Air Resources Board, El Monte, California, USA 3: Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, Washington, USA 4: Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, University of California Irvine, Irvine, California, USA

Publication date: 2010-05-01

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