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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 01 Mar 2019

Research article | 01 Mar 2019

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

Effects of Gas-Wall Interactions on Measurements of Semivolatile Compounds and Small Polar Molecules

Xiaoxi Liu1, Benjamin Deming1, Demetrios Pagonis1, Douglas A. Day1, Brett B. Palm2, Ranajit Talukdar1, James M. Roberts3, Patrick R. Veres3, Jordan E. Krechmer4, Joel A. Thornton2, Joost A. de Gouw1, Paul J. Ziemann1, and Jose L. Jimenez1 Xiaoxi Liu et al.
  • 1Department of Chemistry and Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, USA
  • 2Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA
  • 3NOAA Chemical Sciences Division, Earth Systems Research Laboratory, Boulder, CO, USA
  • 4Center for Aerosol and Cloud Chemistry, Aerodyne Research Inc., Billerica, MA, USA

Abstract. Recent work has quantified the delay times in measurements of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) caused by the partitioning between the gas phase and the surfaces of the inlet tubing and instrument itself. In this study we quantify wall partitioning effects on time responses and transmission of multi-functional, semivolatile and intermediate-volatility organic compounds (S/IVOCs) with saturation concentrations (C*) between 100 and 104 µg m−3. The instrument delays of several chemical ionization mass spectrometer (CIMS) instruments increase with decreasing C*, ranging from seconds to tens of minutes, except for the NO3-CIMS where it is always on the order of seconds. Six different tubing materials were tested. Teflon, including PFA, FEP, and conductive PFA, performs better than metals and Nafion in terms of both delay time and transmission efficiency. Analogous to instrument responses, tubing delays increase as C* decreases, from less than a minute to > 100 min. The delays caused by Teflon tubing vs. C* can be modeled using the simple chromatography model of Pagonis et al. (2017). The model can be used to estimate the equivalent absorbing mass concentration (Cw) of each material, and to estimate delays under different flow rates and tubing dimensions. We also include time delay measurements from a series of small polar organic and inorganic analytes in PFA tubing measured by CIMS. Small polar molecules behave differently than larger organic ones, with their delays being predicted by their Henry’s law constants instead of their C*, suggesting the dominance of partitioning to small amounts of water on sampling surfaces as a result of their polarity and acidity properties. PFA tubing has the best performance for gas-only sampling, while conductive PFA appears very promising for sampling S/IVOCs and particles simultaneously. The observed delays and low transmission both affect the quality of gas quantification, especially when no direct calibration is available. Improvements in sampling and instrument response are needed for fast atmospheric measurements of a wide range of S/IVOCs (e.g., by aircraft or for eddy covariance). These methods and results are also useful for more general characterization of surface/gas interactions.

Xiaoxi Liu et al.
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Xiaoxi Liu et al.
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Short summary
Delays or losses of gases in sampling tubing and instrumental surfaces due to surface interactions can lead to inaccurate quantification. By sampling with several chemical ionization mass spectrometers and 6 tubing materials, we quantify delays of semivolatile organic compounds and small polar gases. Delay times generally increase with decreasing volatility or increasing polarity and also depend on materials. The method and results will inform inlet material selection and instrumental design.
Delays or losses of gases in sampling tubing and instrumental surfaces due to surface...