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Changes in Reactivity as Chemistry Becomes Confined to an Interface. The Case of Free Radical Oxidation of C30H62 Alkane by OH

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journal contribution
posted on 14.02.2018, 00:00 by Frances A. Houle, Aaron A. Wiegel, Kevin R. Wilson
We examine in a simple organic aerosol the transition between heterogeneous chemistry under well-mixed conditions to chemistry under interfacial confinement. A single reaction mechanism, shown to reproduce observed OH oxidation chemistry for liquid and semisolid C30H62, is used in reaction–diffusion simulations to explore reactivity over a broad viscosity range. The results show that when internal mixing of the aerosol is fast and the particle interface is enriched in C–H groups, ketone and alcohol products, formed via peroxy radical disproportionation, predominate. As viscosity increases the reactions become confined to a shell at the gas–aerosol interface. The confinement is accompanied by emergence of acyloxy reaction pathways that are particularly active when the shell is 1 nm or less. We quantify this trend using a reaction–diffusion index, allowing the parts of the mechanism that control reactivity as viscosity increases to be identified.