Articles | Volume 7, issue 5
22 Feb 2007
22 Feb 2007

The oleic acid-ozone heterogeneous reaction system: products, kinetics, secondary chemistry, and atmospheric implications of a model system – a review

J. Zahardis and G. A. Petrucci

Abstract. The heterogeneous processing of organic aerosols by trace oxidants has many implications to atmospheric chemistry and climate regulation. This review covers a model heterogeneous reaction system (HRS): the oleic acid-ozone HRS and other reaction systems featuring fatty acids, and their derivatives. The analysis of the commonly observed aldehyde and organic acid products of ozonolysis (azelaic acid, nonanoic acid, 9-oxononanoic acid, nonanal) is described. The relative product yields are noted and explained by the observation of secondary chemical reactions. The secondary reaction products arising from reactive Criegee intermediates are mainly peroxidic, notably secondary ozonides and α-acyloxyalkyl hydroperoxide oligomers and polymers, and their formation is in accord with solution and liquid-phase ozonolysis. These highly oxygenated products are of low volatility and hydrophilic which may enhance the ability of particles to act as cloud condensation nuclei (CCN). The kinetic description of this HRS is critically reviewed. Most kinetic studies suggest this oxidative processing is either a near surface reaction that is limited by the diffusion of ozone or a surface based reaction. Internally mixed particles and coatings represent the next stage in the progression towards more realistic proxies of tropospheric organic aerosols and a description of the products and the kinetics resulting from the ozonolysis of these proxies, which are based on fatty acids or their derivatives, is presented. Finally, the main atmospheric implications of oxidative processing of particulate containing fatty acids are presented. These implications include the extended lifetime of unsaturated species in the troposphere facilitated by the presence of solids, semi-solids or viscous phases, and an enhanced rate of ozone uptake by particulate unsaturates compared to corresponding gas-phase organics. Ozonolysis of oleic acid enhances its CCN activity, which implies that oxidatively processed particulate may contribute to indirect forcing of radiation.

Final-revised paper