Transformation of logwood combustion emissions in a smog chamber: formation of secondary organic aerosol and changes in the primary organic aerosol upon daytime and nighttime aging
Abstract. Organic aerosols (OA) derived from small-scale wood combustion emissions are not well represented by current emissions inventories and models, although they contribute substantially to the atmospheric particulate matter (PM) levels. In this work, a 29 m3 smog chamber in the ILMARI facility of the University of Eastern Finland was utilized to investigate the formation of secondary organic aerosol (SOA) from a small-scale modern masonry heater commonly used in northern Europe. Emissions were oxidatively aged in the smog chamber for a variety of dark (i.e., O3 and NO3) and UV (i.e., OH) conditions, with OH concentration levels of (0.5–5) × 106 molecules cm−3, achieving equivalent atmospheric aging of up to 18 h. An aerosol mass spectrometer characterized the direct OA emissions and the SOA formed from the combustion of three wood species (birch, beech and spruce) using two ignition processes (fast ignition with a VOC-to-NOx ratio of 3 and slow ignition with a ratio of 5).
Dark and UV aging increased the SOA mass fraction with average SOA productions 2.0 times the initial OA mass loadings. SOA enhancement was found to be higher for the slow ignition compared with fast ignition conditions. Positive matrix factorization (PMF) was used to separate SOA, primary organic aerosol (POA) and their subgroups from the total OA mass spectra. PMF analysis identified two POA and three SOA factors that correlated with the three major oxidizers: ozone, the nitrate radical and the OH radical. Organonitrates (ONs) were observed to be emitted directly from the wood combustion and additionally formed during oxidation via NO3 radicals (dark aging), suggesting small-scale wood combustion may be a significant ON source. POA was oxidized after the ozone addition, forming aged POA, and after 7 h of aging more than 75 % of the original POA was transformed. This process may involve evaporation and homogeneous gas-phase oxidation as well as heterogeneous oxidation of particulate organic matter. The results generally prove that logwood burning emissions are the subject of intensive chemical processing in the atmosphere, and the timescale for these transformations is relatively short, i.e., hours.