Acid-Catalyzed Heterogeneous Reactions and Secondary Organic Aerosol Formation From Biogenic Compounds

EPA Grant Number: U916146
Title: Acid-Catalyzed Heterogeneous Reactions and Secondary Organic Aerosol Formation From Biogenic Compounds
Investigators: Czoschke, Nadine
Institution: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
EPA Project Officer: Packard, Benjamin H
Project Period: January 1, 2003 through January 1, 2006
Project Amount: $84,561
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (2003) Recipients Lists
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Air Quality and Air Toxics , Fellowship - Atmospheric Sciences


The overall objective of this research project is to determine the impact of acid-catalyzed heterogeneous reactions on secondary organic aerosol (SOA) formation. The specific objectives of this research project are to: (1) evaluate the temperature and humidity dependence of these heterogeneous reactions; and (2) incorporate heterogeneous reactions into a photochemical kinetic model of atmospheric secondary aerosol formation.


There are two experimental phases to this project: a laboratory phase and a chamber phase. The laboratory portion involves the ozonation of various biogenics in 500 L Teflon bags and a 4-meter-long flow reactor to determine the short-term (seconds to 1 hour) qualitative effects of an acidic aerosol environment on SOA growth. Results from these experiments have shown that an acidic atmosphere leads to increases in SOA growth for a variety of biogenics including isoprene, acrolein, and alpha-pinene. Experiments in a newly built University of North Carolina 270 m3 dual chamber Teflon smog chamber will be used for the second experimental phase. Experiments in these chambers will quantitatively assess the temperature and humidity effects of heterogeneous reactions on SOA growth. The ozonation of alpha-pinene in the absence of light and the photo-oxidation of a-pinene in the presence of NOx will be studied in this phase. The use of a larger reaction volume will allow longer time scales to be evaluated and reduce the wall effects of the chamber compared to the 500 L Teflon bags. Filter and denuder samples will be analyzed using gas chromatography/mass spectrometry, and diverse derivitization techniques will be used to identify the gas- and particle-phase concentrations of the oxidation products and possible heterogeneous reaction products. The results of these chamber experiments also will be used to incorporate acid-catalyzed heterogeneous reactions into an existing photochemical kinetic solver for the alpha-pinene system.

Supplemental Keywords:

fellowship, secondary organic aerosol, SOA, acid-catalyzed heterogeneous reactions, acid catalyst, photochemical kinetic model, aerosol formation.

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2003
  • 2004
  • Final