Studying volatility from composition, dilution, and heating measurements of secondary organic aerosols formed during α-pinene ozonolysis
Abstract. Traditional yield curve analysis shows that semi-volatile organic compounds are a major component of secondary organic aerosols (SOAs). We investigated the volatility distribution of SOAs from α-pinene ozonolysis using positive electrospray ionization mass analysis and dilution- and heat-induced evaporation measurements. Laboratory chamber experiments were conducted on α-pinene ozonolysis, in the presence and absence of OH scavengers. Among these, we identified not only semi-volatile products, but also less volatile highly oxygenated molecules (HOMs) and dimers. Ozonolysis products were further exposed to OH radicals to check the effects of photochemical aging. HOMs were also formed during OH-initiated photochemical aging. Most HOMs that formed from ozonolysis and photochemical aging had 10 or fewer carbons. SOA particle evaporation after instantaneous dilution was measured at < 1 and ∼ 40 % relative humidity. The volume fraction remaining of SOAs decreased with time and the equilibration timescale was determined to be 24–46 min for SOA evaporation. The experimental results of the equilibration timescale can be explained when the mass accommodation coefficient is assumed to be 0.1, suggesting that the existence of low-volatility materials in SOAs, kinetic inhibition, or some combined effect may affect the equilibration timescale measured in this study.