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Discussion papers | Copyright
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2018-175
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 02 Jul 2018

Research article | 02 Jul 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT).

Particle Wall-loss Correction Methods in Smog Chamber Experiments

Ningxin Wang1, Spiro Jorga1, Jeffrey Pierce2, Neil Donahue1, and Spyros Pandis1,3,4 Ningxin Wang et al.
  • 1Department of Chemical Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, USA
  • 2Department of Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, USA
  • 3Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Patras, Patra, Greece
  • 4Institute of Chemical Engineering Sciences (ICE - HT), FORTH, Patra, Greece

Abstract. The interaction of particles with the chamber walls has been a significant source of uncertainty when analyzing results of secondary organic aerosol (SOA) formation experiments performed in Teflon chambers. A number of particle wall-loss correction methods have been proposed including the use of a size-independent loss rate constant, ratio of suspended organic mass to that of a conserved tracer (e.g., sulfate seeds), size-dependent loss rate constant, etc. For complex experiments such as chemical aging of SOA, the results of the SOA quantification analysis can be quite sensitive to the adopted correction method due to the evolution of the particle size distribution and the duration of these experiments.

We evaluated the performance of several particle wall-loss correction methods for aging experiments of α-pinene ozonolysis products. Determining the loss rates from seed loss periods is necessary for this system because it is not clear when chemistry is over. Results from the organic to sulfate ratio and the size-independent correction methods can be influenced significantly by the size-dependence of the particle wall-loss process. Coagulation can also affect the particle size distribution, especially for particles with diameter less than 100 nm, thus introducing errors in the results of the wall-loss correction. The corresponding loss rate constants may vary from experiment to experiment, and even during a specific experiment. Friction between the Teflon chamber walls and non-conductive surfaces can significantly increase particle wall-loss rates and the chamber may require weeks to recover to its original condition. Experimental procedures are proposed for the characterization of particle losses during different stages of these experiments and the evaluation of corresponding particle wall-loss correction.

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Short summary
The interaction of particles with the chamber walls has been a significant source of uncertainty when analyzing results of secondary organic aerosol formation experiments performed in Teflon chambers. We evaluated the performance of several particle wall-loss correction methods for aging experiments of α-pinene ozonolysis products. Experimental procedures are proposed for the characterization of particle losses during different stages of these experiments.
The interaction of particles with the chamber walls has been a significant source of uncertainty...
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