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Journal article

Investigative modeling of new pathways for secondary organic aerosol formation

Pun B, Seigneur C...(+2 more)

Atmos. Chem. Phys., vol. 7 (2007) pp. 2199-2216

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Abstract

Recent advances in secondary organic aerosol (SOA) research are reviewed
and the status of current understanding is investigated using a box
model of SOA formation. Benzene and isoprene are newly identified
precursors that are included in this SOA model; these precursors
form SOA via secondary products. The model is also extended to include
some representation of aqueous partitioning and the formation of
high molecular weight products via oligomerization. Experimental
data and empirical relationships are used where possible, because
a detailed representation of SOA formation is not supported by the
current state of information. Sensitivity studies are conducted with
the SOA model and SOA predictions are found to be very sensitive
to the treatment of the interactions between particulate water and
organic compounds. While uncertainties due to model formulation are
significant, influential model parameters include the aerosol partitioning
ratios for several small products of isoprene and the partitioning
constants for unidentified products (currently, the partitioning
constants are derived by fitting experimental data). The pH value
used as the reference for the activation of oligomerization is also
a critical parameter. Recommendations for future work needed to improve
SOA models include the elucidation of the water-organic relationship,
the extent of phase separation, and laboratory experiments conducted
under conditions more relevant to ambient studies (e.g., lower concentrations,
higher relative humidity).

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