Towards closing the gap between hygroscopic growth and CCN activation for secondary organic aerosols – Part 3: Influence of the chemical composition on the hygroscopic properties and volatile fractions of aerosols
Abstract. The influence of varying levels of water mixing ratio, r, during the formation of secondary organic aerosol (SOA) from the ozonolysis of α-pinene on the SOA hygroscopicity and volatility was investigated. The reaction proceeded and aerosols were generated in a mixing chamber and the hygroscopic characteristics of the SOA were determined with the Leipzig Aerosol Cloud Interaction Simulator (LACIS) and a Cloud Condensation Nuclei counter (CCNc). In parallel, a High-Resolution Time-of-Flight Aerodyne Aerosol Mass Spectrometer (HR-ToF-AMS) located downstream of a thermodenuder (TD) sampling from the mixing chamber, to collect mass spectra of particles from the volatile and less-volatile fractions of the SOA. Results showed that both hygroscopic growth and the volatile fraction of the SOA increased with increases in r inside the mixing chamber during SOA generation. An effective density of 1.40 g cm−3 was observed for the generated SOA when the reaction proceeded with r>1 g kg−1. Changes in the concentrations of the fragment CO2+ and the sum of CxHyOz+ (short name CHO) and CxHy+ (short name CH) fragments as measured by the HR-ToF-AMS were used to estimate changes in the oxidation level of the SOA with reaction conditions, using the ratios CO2+ to CH and CHO to CH. Under humid conditions, both ratios increased, corresponding to the presence of more oxygenated functional groups (i.e., multifunctional carboxylic acids). This result is consistent with the α-pinene ozonolysis mechanisms which suggest that water interacts with the stabilized Criegee intermediate. The volatility and the hygroscopicity results show that SOA generation via ozonolysis of α-pinene in the presence of water vapour (r<16.9 g kg−1) leads to the formation of more highly oxygenated compounds that are more hygroscopic and more volatile than compounds formed under dry conditions.