The heterogeneous oxidation of sulfur dioxide (SO2) on a-Al2O3 particles was investigated using a flow reactor coupled with a transmission-Fourier transform infrared (T-FTIR) spectrometer at different relative humidities (RH) in the absence or presence of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), with an emphasis on the saturation coverage of SO2 and the timescale on which the reaction reaches saturation. It is found that the saturation coverage of SO2 in the absence of H2O2 increases with rising RH due to the hydrolysis of SO2 by surface adsorbed water. However, the reaction ultimately reaches saturation since the produced sulfite/bisulfite cannot be further converted to sulfate/bisulfate in the absence of oxidants. In addition, the presence of H2O2 can significantly increase the saturation coverage of SO2 by efficiently oxidizing sulfite/bisulfite to sulfate/bisulfate. Under humid conditions, adsorbed water facilitates the hydrolysis of SO2 and mitigates the increase of surface acidity, which can inhibit the hydrolysis of SO2. Hence, in the presence of H2O2, the saturation coverage of SO2 as well as the time of reaction reaching saturation increases with rising RH and the surface is not saturated on the timescale of the experiments (40 h) at 60% RH. Furthermore, the increase of saturation coverage of SO2 in the presence of H2O2 was observed on chemically inactive SiO2 particles, indicating that the hydrolysis of SO2 and subsequent oxidation by H2O2 likely occurs on other types of particles. Our findings are of importance for understanding the role of water vapor and trace gases (e.g., H2O2) in the heterogeneous reaction of SO2 in the atmosphere.
Measurements of atmospheric peroxides were made during Wangdu Campaign 2014 at Wangdu, a rural site in the North China Plain (NCP) in summer 2014. The predominant peroxides were detected to be hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), methyl hydroperoxide (MHP) and peroxyacetic acid (PAA). The observed H2O2 reached up to 11.3 ppbv, which was the highest value compared with previous observations in China at summer time. A box model simulation based on the Master Chemical Mechanism and constrained by the simultaneous observations of physical parameters and chemical species was performed to explore the chemical budget of atmospheric peroxides. Photochemical oxidation of alkenes was found to be the major secondary formation pathway of atmospheric peroxides, while contributions from alkanes and aromatics were of minor importance. The comparison of modeled and measured peroxide concentrations revealed an underestimation during biomass burning events and an overestimation on haze days, which were ascribed to the direct production of peroxides from biomass burning and the heterogeneous uptake of peroxides by aerosols, respectively. The strengths of the primary emissions from biomass burning were on the same order of the known secondary production rates of atmospheric peroxides during the biomass burning events. The heterogeneous process on aerosol particles was suggested to be the predominant sink for atmospheric peroxides. The atmospheric lifetime of peroxides on haze days in summer in the NCP was about 2–3 h, which is in good agreement with the laboratory studies. Further comprehensive investigations are necessary to better understand the impact of biomass burning and heterogeneous uptake on the concentration of peroxides in the atmosphere.
Organic peroxides, important species in the atmosphere, promote secondary organic aerosol (SOA) aging, affect HOx radicals cycling, and cause adverse health effects. However, the formation, gas-particle partitioning, and evolution of organic peroxides are complicated and still unclear. In this study, we investigated in the laboratory the production and gas-particle partitioning of peroxides from the ozonolysis of a-pinene, which is one of the major biogenic volatile organic compounds in the atmosphere and an important precursor for SOA at a global scale. We have determined the molar yields of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), hydromethyl hydroperoxide (HMHP), peroxyformic acid (PFA), peroxyacetic acid (PAA), and total peroxides (TPOs, including unknown peroxides) and the fraction of peroxides in a-pinene/O3 SOA. Comparing the gas-phase peroxides with the particle-phase peroxides, we find that gas-particle partitioning coefficients of PFA and PAA are 104 times higher than the values from the theoretical prediction, indicating that organic peroxides play a more important role in SOA formation than previously expected. Here, the partitioning coefficients of TPO were determined to be as high as (2–3)*104 m3 mg-1. Even so, more than 80% of the peroxides formed in the reaction remain in the gas phase. Water changes the distribution of gaseous peroxides, while it does not affect the total amount of peroxides in either the gas or the particle phase. Approx. 18% of gaseous peroxides undergo rapid heterogeneous decomposition on SOA particles in the presence of water vapor, resulting in the additional production of H2O2. This process can partially explain the unexpectedly high H2O2 yields under wet conditions. Transformation of organic peroxides to H2O2 also preserves OH in the atmosphere, helping to improve the understanding of OH cycling.
Glyoxal (GL) plays a crucial role in the formation of secondary organic aerosols (SOA), because it is highly water soluble and capable of oligomerization. This is the first study to describe irreversible heterogeneous reactions of GL on clean and acidic gas-aged SiO2, a-Al2O3, and CaCO3 particles, as models of real mineral particles, at various relative humidity and without irradiation and gas phase oxidants. A series of products, including oligomers, organosulfates, and organic acids, which contribute to SOA formation, were produced. GL uptake on SO2-aged a-Al2O3 enabled the oxidation of surface S(IV) to S(VI). The presence of adsorbed water on particles favored GL uptake and the formation of oligomers and organosulfate, but it suppressed organic acid formation. In addition, the aging process enhanced the positive effect of adsorbed water on GL uptake. These findings will further our understanding of the GL sink and SOA sources in the atmosphere.
Carbonyl compounds are important precursors of secondary air pollutants. With the rapid economic development and the implementation of stricter control measures in Beijing, the sources of carbonyls possibly changed. Based on measurement data obtained at an urban site in Beijing between 2005 and 2012, we investigated annual variations in carbonyl levels and sources during these years. In summer, formaldehyde and acetaldehyde levels decreased significantly at a rate of 9.1%/year and 7.2%/year, respectively, while acetone levels increased at a rate of 4.3%/year. In winter, formaldehyde levels increased and acetaldehyde levels decreased. We also investigated the factors driving the variation in carbonyls levels during summer by determination of emission ratios for carbonyls and their precursors, and calculation of photochemical formation of carbonyls. The relative declines for primary formaldehyde and acetaldehyde levels were larger than those for secondary formation. This is possibly due to the increasing usage of natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas which could result in the rise of carbonyl precursor emission ratios. The increase in acetone levels might be related to the rising solvent usage in Beijing during these years. The influences of these sources should be paid more attention in future research.
Carbonyl compounds play an important role in the formation of secondary aerosols and the cycling of free radicals in the atmosphere. We measured carbonyl compounds over urban Beijing, a megacity in the North China Plain, in summer and winter to investigate the relation of carbonyl compounds with haze and the interaction between carbonyl compounds and atmospheric radical cycling. We also determined carbonyl compounds in summer rainwater. Data of carbonyl compounds were analyzed in four cases, i.e., summer haze days (SHD), summer non-haze days (SND), winter haze days (WHD), and winter non-haze days (WND). Interestingly, the level of carbonyl compounds during WHD approached that of summer days. The results of the principal component analysis showed that there was no obvious source difference between SHD and SND. On WHD, however, more carbonyl compounds originated from the “diesel engine exhaust emission” than those on WND. We evaluated the effect of carbonyl compounds on the free radical cycling and the NO consumption potential for OH formation in the photochemical reactions using a novel ratio method. It was found that the production rate of ROx (the sum of OH, HO2 and RO2 radicals) was highest on SND, while the yield of ROx radicals from the reactions of carbonyl compounds was highest on WHD. Further, carbonyl compounds consumed more NO to produce OH radicals on WHD compared to the other three cases.