Articles | Volume 14, issue 17
Research article
01 Sep 2014
Research article |  | 01 Sep 2014

Kinetics of the reactions of isoprene-derived hydroxynitrates: gas phase epoxide formation and solution phase hydrolysis

M. I. Jacobs, W. J. Burke, and M. J. Elrod

Abstract. Isoprene, the most abundant non-methane volatile organic compound (VOC) emitted into the atmosphere, is known to undergo gas phase oxidation to form eight different hydroxynitrate isomers in "high-NOx" environments. These hydroxynitrates are known to affect the global and regional formation of ozone and secondary organic aerosol (SOA), as well as affect the distribution of nitrogen. In the present study, we have synthesized three of the eight possible hydroxynitrates: 4-hydroxy-3-nitroxy isoprene (4,3-HNI) and E / Z-1-hydroxy-4-nitroxy isoprene (1,4-HNI). Oxidation of the 4,3-HNI isomer by the OH radical was monitored using a flow tube chemical ionization mass spectrometer (FT-CIMS), and its OH rate constant was determined to be (3.64 ± 0.41) × 10−11 cm3 molecule−1 s−1. The products of 4,3-HNI oxidation were monitored, and a mechanism to explain the products was developed. An isoprene epoxide (IEPOX) – a species important in SOA chemistry and thought to originate only from "low-NOx" isoprene oxidation – was found as a minor, but significant, product. Additionally, hydrolysis kinetics of the three synthesized isomers were monitored with nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). The bulk, neutral solution hydrolysis rate constants for 4,3-HNI and the 1,4-HNI isomers were (1.59 ± 0.03) × 10−5 s−1 and (6.76 ± 0.09) × 10−3 s−1, respectively. The hydrolysis reactions of each isomer were found to be general acid-catalyzed. The reaction pathways, product yields and atmospheric implications for both the gas phase and aerosol phase reactions are discussed.

Final-revised paper