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Kinetics and Product Formation during the Photooxidation of Butanol on Atmospheric Mineral Dust

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journal contribution
posted on 29.03.2018, 00:00 by Milena Ponczek, Christian George
Mineral dust particles have photochemical properties that can promote heterogeneous reactions on their surfaces and therefore alter atmospheric composition. Even though dust photocatalytic nature has received significant attention recently, most studies have focused on inorganic trace gases. Here, we investigated how light changes the chemical interactions between butanol and Arizona test dust, a proxy for mineral dust, under atmospheric conditions. Butanol uptake kinetics were measured, exploring the effects of UV light irradiation intensity (0–1.4 mW/cm2), relative humidity (0–10%), temperature (283–298 K), and butanol initial concentration (20–55 ppb). The composition of the gas phase was monitored by a high-resolution proton-transfer-reaction mass spectrometer (PTR-ToF-MS) operating in H3O+ mode. Water was observed to play a significant role, initially reducing heterogeneous processing of butanol but enhancing reaction rates once it evaporated. Gas phase products were identified, showing that surface reactions of adsorbed butanol led to the emission of a variety of carbonyl containing compounds. Under actinic light these compounds will photolyze and produce hydroxyl radicals, changing dust processing from a sink of VOC into a source of reactive compounds.