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Secondary organic aerosol formation from idling gasoline passenger vehicle emissions investigated in a smog chamber

by E. Z. Nordin, A. C. Eriksson, P. Roldin, P. T. Nilsson, J. E. Carlsson, M. K. Kajos, H. Hellén, C. Wittbom, J. Rissler, J. Löndahl, E. Swietlicki, B. Svenningsson, M. Bohgard, M. Kulmala, M. Hallquist, J. H. Pagels show all authors
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics ()
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Abstract

Gasoline vehicles have recently been pointed out as potentially the main source of anthropogenic secondary organic aerosol (SOA) in megacities. However, there is a lack of laboratory studies to systematically investigate SOA for-mation in real-world exhaust. In this study, SOA formation from pure aromatic precursors, idling and cold start gasoline exhaust from three passenger vehicles (EURO2–EURO4) were investigated with photo-oxidation experiments in a 6 m 3 smog chamber. The experiments were carried out down to at-mospherically relevant organic aerosol mass concentrations. The characterization instruments included a high-resolution aerosol mass spectrometer and a proton transfer mass spec-trometer. It was found that gasoline exhaust readily forms SOA with a signature aerosol mass spectrum similar to the oxidized organic aerosol that commonly dominates the or-ganic aerosol mass spectra downwind of urban areas. After a cumulative OH exposure of ∼5 × 10 6 cm −3 h, the formed SOA was 1–2 orders of magnitude higher than the primary OA emissions. The SOA mass spectrum from a relevant mix-ture of traditional light aromatic precursors gave f 43 (mass fraction at m/z = 43), approximately two times higher than to the gasoline SOA. However O : C and H : C ratios were similar for the two cases. Classical C 6 –C 9 light aromatic precursors were responsible for up to 60 % of the formed SOA, which is significantly higher than for diesel exhaust. Important candidates for additional precursors are higher-order aromatic compounds such as C 10 and C 11 light aro-matics, naphthalene and methyl-naphthalenes. We conclude that approaches using only light aromatic precursors give an incomplete picture of the magnitude of SOA formation and the SOA composition from gasoline exhaust.

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