Modelling photochemical production of fine particulates in a toluene/NOx/water vapour system

Wiegand, Aaron Nathaniel (1999) Modelling photochemical production of fine particulates in a toluene/NOx/water vapour system. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


This work investigates the computer modelling of the photochemical formation of smog products such as ozone and aerosol, in a system containing toluene, NOx and water vapour. In particular, the problem of modelling this process in the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) smog chambers, which utilize outdoor exposure, is addressed. The primary requirement for such modelling is a knowledge of the photolytic rate coefficients. Photolytic rate coefficients of species other than N02 are often related to JNo2 (rate coefficient for the photolysis ofN02) by a simple factor, but for outdoor chambers, this method is prone to error as the diurnal profiles may not be similar in shape. Three methods for the calculation of diurnal JNo2 are investigated. The most suitable method for incorporation into a general model, is found to be one which determines the photolytic rate coefficients for N02, as well as several other species, from actinic flux, absorption cross section and quantum yields. A computer model was developed, based on this method, to calculate in-chamber photolysis rate coefficients for the CSIRO smog chambers, in which ex-chamber rate coefficients are adjusted by accounting for variation in light intensity by transmittance through the Teflon walls, albedo from the chamber floor and radiation attenuation due to clouds. The photochemical formation of secondary aerosol is investigated in a series of toluene-NOx experiments, which were performed in the CSIRO smog chambers. Three stages of aerosol formation, in plots of total particulate volume versus time, are identified: a delay period in which no significant mass of aerosol is formed, a regime of rapid aerosol formation (regime 1) and a second regime of slowed aerosol formation (regime 2). Two models are presented which were developed from the experimental data. One model is empirically based on observations of discrete stages of aerosol formation and readily allows aerosol growth profiles to be calculated. The second model is based on an adaptation of published toluene photooxidation mechanisms and provides some chemical information about the oxidation products. Both models compare favorably against the experimental data. The gross effects of precursor concentrations (toluene, NOx and H20) and ambient conditions (temperature, photolysis rate) on the formation of secondary aerosol are also investigated, primarily using the mechanism model. An increase in [NOx]o results in increased delay time, rate of aerosol formation in regime 1 and volume of aerosol formed in regime 1. This is due to increased formation of dinitrocresol and furanone products. An increase in toluene results in a decrease in the delay time and an increase in the rate of aerosol formation in regime 1, due to enhanced reactivity from the toluene products, such as the radicals from the photolysis of benzaldehyde. Water vapor has very little effect on the formation of aerosol volume, except that rates are slightly increased due to more OH radicals from reaction with 0(1D) from ozone photolysis. Increased temperature results in increased volume of aerosol formed in regime 1 (increased dinitrocresol formation), while increased photolysis rate results in increased rate of aerosol formation in regime 1. Both the rate and volume of aerosol formed in regime 2 are increased by increased temperature or photolysis rate. Both models indicate that the yield of secondary particulates from hydrocarbons (mass concentration aerosol formed/mass concentration hydrocarbon precursor) is proportional to the ratio [NOx]0/[hydrocarbon]0

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ID Code: 36975
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Bofinger, Neville, George, Graeme, & Johnson, Graham R.
Additional Information: Presented to the School of Physical Sciences, Queensland University of Technology.
Keywords: Photochemistry Mathematical models, Photochemical smog Mathematical models, actinic, aerosol, atmosphere, chamber characterization, chemistry, computational, computer, diurnal, empirical, kinetics, mechanism, model, modelling, nitrogen oxides, ozone, particle, photochemical, photodissociation, radiation, radical, rate coefficent, rate constant, reaction, smog, smog chamber, toluene, troposhere, thesis, doctoral
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright Aaron Nathaniel Wiegand
Deposited On: 22 Sep 2010 13:06
Last Modified: 06 Sep 2016 02:36

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