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Heating-Induced Evaporation of Nine Different Secondary Organic Aerosol Types.


The volatility of the compounds comprising organic aerosol (OA) determines their distribution between the gas and particle phases. However, there is a disconnect between volatility distributions as typically derived from secondary OA (SOA) growth experiments and the effective particle volatility as probed in evaporation experiments. Specifically, the evaporation experiments indicate an overall much less volatile SOA. This raises questions regarding the use of traditional volatility distributions in the simulation and prediction of atmospheric SOA concentrations. Here, we present results from measurements of thermally induced evaporation of SOA for nine different SOA types (i.e., distinct volatile organic compound and oxidant pairs) encompassing both anthropogenic and biogenic compounds and O3 and OH to examine the extent to which the low effective volatility of SOA is a general phenomenon or specific to a subset of SOA types. The observed extents of evaporation with temperature were similar for all the SOA types and indicative of a low effective volatility. Furthermore, minimal variations in the composition of all the SOA types upon heating-induced evaporation were observed. These results suggest that oligomer decomposition likely plays a major role in controlling SOA evaporation, and since the SOA formation time scale in these measurements was less than a minute, the oligomer-forming reactions must be similarly rapid. Overall, these results emphasize the importance of accounting for the role of condensed phase reactions in altering the composition of SOA when assessing particle volatility.

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