Formation of Secondary Organic Aerosol by Reactive Condensation of Furandiones, Aldehydes, and Water Vapor Onto Inorganic Aerosol Seed Particles

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Volatile furandiones and aldehydes are significant atmospheric oxidation products of aromatic compounds. The mechanism of secondary organic aerosol formation by these compounds was probed using particle chamber observations and macroscale simulations of condensed phases. Growth of inorganic seed aerosol was monitored in the presence of humidity and high concentrations of 2,5-furandione (maleic anhydride), 3-methyl-2,5-furandione (citraconic anhydride), benzaldehyde, and trans-cinnamaldehyde. Particle growth commenced when the gas-phase saturation level of each organic compound and water vapor (relative to its pure liquid), when summed together, reached a threshold near one, implying the formation of a nearly ideal mixed organic/aqueous phase. However, these organics are immiscible with water at the high mole fractions that would be expected in such a phase. Highly acidic dicarboxylic acids produced by the reactions between furandiones and water were shown to rapidly acidify an aqueous phase, resulting in greatly increased benzaldehyde solubility. Thus, the uptake of these organics onto particles in the presence of humidity appears to be reaction-dependent. Finally, it is shown that dicarboxylic acids produced in these reactions recyclize back to furandiones when subjected to normal GC injector temperatures, which could cause large artifacts in gas/particle phase distribution measurements.