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Published July 1, 2010 | public
Journal Article

Characterization of Vapor Wall Loss in Laboratory Chambers


Laboratory chambers used to study atmospheric chemistry and aerosol formation are subject to wall loss of vapors and particles that must be accounted for in calculating aerosol yields. While particle wall loss in chambers is relatively well-understood and routinely accounted for, that of vapor is less so. Here we address experimental measurement and modeling of vapor losses in environmental chambers. We identify two compounds that exhibit wall loss: 2,3-epoxy-1,4-butanediol (BEPOX), an analog of an important isoprene oxidation product; and glyoxal, a common volatile organic compound oxidation product. Dilution experiments show that BEPOX wall loss is irreversible on short time scales but is reversible on long time scales, and glyoxal wall loss is reversible for all time scales. BEPOX exhibits minimal uptake onto clean chamber walls under dry conditions, with increasing rates of uptake over the life of an in-use chamber. By performing periodic BEPOX wall loss experiments, it is possible to assess quantitatively the aging of chamber walls.

Additional Information

© 2010 American Chemical Society. Received March 5, 2010. Revised manuscript received May 21, 2010. Accepted May 25, 2010. Publication Date (Web): June 7, 2010. This work was supported by the Office of Science (Biological and Environmental Research), Electric Power Research Institute, U.S. Department of Energy Grant DE-FG02-05ER63983, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) STAR agreement RD-833749. The CIMS instrument was purchased as part of a major research instrumentation grant from the National Science Foundation (Grant ATM-0619783); assembly and testing was supported by the Davidow Discovery Fund. Development of the Madison-LIP instrument was supported by the National Science Foundation (Grant ATM-0724912) and a Dreyfus New Faculty award. We thank John D. Crounse and Nathan C. Eddingsaas for synthesizing and characterizing (with H NMR) the BEPOX. Christine Loza was supported by a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.

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