Articles | Volume 15, issue 1
Research article
14 Jan 2015
Research article |  | 14 Jan 2015

Improved AIOMFAC model parameterisation of the temperature dependence of activity coefficients for aqueous organic mixtures

G. Ganbavale, A. Zuend, C. Marcolli, and T. Peter

Abstract. This study presents a new, improved parameterisation of the temperature dependence of activity coefficients in the AIOMFAC (Aerosol Inorganic–Organic Mixtures Functional groups Activity Coefficients) model applicable for aqueous as well as water-free organic solutions. For electrolyte-free organic and organic–water mixtures the AIOMFAC model uses a group-contribution approach based on UNIFAC (UNIversal quasi-chemical Functional-group Activity Coefficients). This group-contribution approach explicitly accounts for interactions among organic functional groups and between organic functional groups and water. The previous AIOMFAC version uses a simple parameterisation of the temperature dependence of activity coefficients, aimed to be applicable in the temperature range from ~ 275 to ~ 400 K. With the goal to improve the description of a wide variety of organic compounds found in atmospheric aerosols, we extend the AIOMFAC parameterisation for the functional groups carboxyl, hydroxyl, ketone, aldehyde, ether, ester, alkyl, aromatic carbon-alcohol, and aromatic hydrocarbon to atmospherically relevant low temperatures. To this end we introduce a new parameterisation for the temperature dependence. The improved temperature dependence parameterisation is derived from classical thermodynamic theory by describing effects from changes in molar enthalpy and heat capacity of a multi-component system. Thermodynamic equilibrium data of aqueous organic and water-free organic mixtures from the literature are carefully assessed and complemented with new measurements to establish a comprehensive database, covering a wide temperature range (~ 190 to ~ 440 K) for many of the functional group combinations considered. Different experimental data types and their processing for the estimation of AIOMFAC model parameters are discussed. The new AIOMFAC parameterisation for the temperature dependence of activity coefficients from low to high temperatures shows an overall improvement of 28% in comparison to the previous model version, when both versions are compared to our database of experimentally determined activity coefficients and related thermodynamic data. When comparing the previous and new AIOMFAC model parameterisations to the subsets of experimental data with all temperatures below 274 K or all temperatures above 322 K (i.e. outside a 25 K margin of the reference temperature of 298 K), applying the new parameterisation leads to 37% improvement in each of the two temperature ranges considered. The new parameterisation of AIOMFAC agrees well with a large number of experimental data sets. Larger model–measurement discrepancies were found particularly for some of the systems containing multi-functional organic compounds. The affected systems were typically also poorly represented at room temperature and further improvements will be necessary to achieve better performance of AIOMFAC in these cases (assuming the experimental data are reliable). The performance of the AIOMFAC parameterisation is typically better for systems containing relatively small organic compounds and larger deviations may occur in mixtures where molecules of high structural complexity such as highly oxygenated compounds or molecules of high molecular mass (e.g. oligomers) prevail. Nevertheless, the new parameterisation enables the calculation of activity coefficients for a wide variety of different aqueous/water-free organic solutions down to the low temperatures present in the upper troposphere.

Short summary
This study presents a new, improved parameterisation of the temperature dependence of activity coefficients implemented in the AIOMFAC group-contribution model. The AIOMFAC model with the improved parameterisation is applicable for a large variety of aqueous organic as well as water-free organic solutions of relevance for atmospheric aerosols. The new model parameters were determined based on published and new thermodynamic equilibrium data covering a temperature range from ~190 to 440 K.
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