Role of methyl group number on SOA formation from monocyclic aromatic hydrocarbons photooxidation under low-NOx conditions
- 1University of California, Riverside, Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Riverside, CA 92507, USA
- 2College of Engineering-Center for Environmental Research and Technology (CE-CERT), Riverside, CA 92507, USA
- acurrently at: Clarkson University, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Potsdam, NY 13699, USA
- bcurrently at: Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, La Jolla, CA, USA
Abstract. Substitution of methyl groups onto the aromatic ring determines the secondary organic aerosol (SOA) formation from the monocyclic aromatic hydrocarbon precursor (SOA yield and chemical composition). This study links the number of methyl groups on the aromatic ring to SOA formation from monocyclic aromatic hydrocarbons photooxidation under low-NOx conditions (HC/NO > 10 ppbC : ppb). Monocyclic aromatic hydrocarbons with increasing numbers of methyl groups are systematically studied. SOA formation from pentamethylbenzene and hexamethylbenzene are reported for the first time. A decreasing SOA yield with increasing number of methyl groups is observed. Linear trends are found in both f44 vs. f43 and O / C vs. H / C for SOA from monocyclic aromatic hydrocarbons with zero to six methyl groups. An SOA oxidation state predictive method based on benzene is used to examine the effect of added methyl groups on aromatic oxidation under low-NOx conditions. Further, the impact of methyl group number on density and volatility of SOA from monocyclic aromatic hydrocarbons is explored. Finally, a mechanism for methyl group impact on SOA formation is suggested. Overall, this work suggests that, as more methyl groups are attached on the aromatic ring, SOA products from these monocyclic aromatic hydrocarbons become less oxidized per mass/carbon on the basis of SOA yield or chemical composition.