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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Coupled Interfacial and Bulk Kinetics Govern the Timescales of Multiphase Ozonolysis Reactions


Chemical transformations in aerosols impact the lifetime of particle phase species, the fate of atmospheric pollutants, and both climate- and health-relevant aerosol properties. Timescales for multiphase reactions of ozone in atmospheric aqueous phases are governed by coupled kinetic processes between the gas phase, the particle interface, and its bulk, which respond dynamically to reactive consumption of O3. However, models of atmospheric aerosol reactivity often do not account for the coupled nature of multiphase processes. To examine these dynamics, we use new and prior experimental observations of aqueous droplet reaction kinetics, including three systems with a range of surface affinities and ozonolysis rate coefficients (trans-aconitic acid (C6H6O6), maleic acid (C4H4O4), and sodium nitrite (NaNO2)). Using literature rate coefficients and thermodynamic properties, we constrain a simple two-compartment stochastic kinetic model which resolves the interface from the particle bulk and represents O3 partitioning, diffusion, and reaction as a coupled kinetic system. Our kinetic model accurately predicts decay kinetics across all three systems, demonstrating that both the thermodynamic properties of O3 and the coupled kinetic and diffusion processes are key to making accurate predictions. An enhanced concentration of adsorbed O3, compared to gas and bulk phases is rapidly maintained and remains constant even as O3 is consumed by reaction. Multiphase systems dynamically seek to achieve equilibrium in response to reactive O3 loss, but this is hampered at solute concentrations relevant to aqueous aerosol by the rate of O3 arrival in the bulk by diffusion. As a result, bulk-phase O3 becomes depleted from its Henry's law solubility. This bulk-phase O3 depletion limits reaction timescales for relatively slow-reacting organic solutes with low interfacial affinity (i.e., trans-aconitic and maleic acids, with krxn ≈ 103-104 M-1 s-1), which is in contrast to fast-reacting solutes with higher surface affinity (i.e., nitrite, with krxn ≈ 105 M-1 s-1) where surface reactions strongly impact the observed decay kinetics.

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