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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Role of Oxalic Acid in New Particle Formation from Methanesulfonic Acid, Methylamine, and Water

  • Author(s): Arquero, Kristine D
  • Gerber, R Benny
  • Finlayson-Pitts, Barbara J
  • et al.

Atmospheric particles are notorious for their effects on human health and visibility and are known to influence climate. Though sulfuric acid and ammonia/amines are recognized as main contributors to new particle formation (NPF), models and observations have indicated that other species may be involved. It has been shown that nucleation from methanesulfonic acid (MSA) and amines, which is enhanced with added water, can also contribute to NPF. While organics are ubiquitous in air and likely to be involved in NPF by stabilizing small clusters for further growth, their effects on the MSA-amine system are not known. This work investigates the effect of oxalic acid (OxA) on NPF from the reaction of MSA and methylamine (MA) at 1 atm and 294 K in the presence and absence of water vapor using an aerosol flow reactor. OxA and MA do not efficiently form particles even in the presence of water, but NPF is enhanced when adding MSA to OxA-MA with and without water. The addition of OxA to MSA-MA mixtures yields a modest NPF enhancement, whereas the addition of OxA to MSA-MA-H2O has no effect. Possible reasons for these effects are discussed.

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