Volatility and oxidative aging of aqueous maleic acid aerosol droplets and the dependence on relative humidity

Benjamin J. Dennis-Smither, Frances H. Marshall, Rachael E H Miles, Thomas C. Preston, Jonathan P. Reid*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


The microphysical structure and heterogeneous oxidation by ozone of single aerosol particles containing maleic acid (MA) has been studied using aerosol optical tweezers and cavity enhanced Raman spectroscopy. The evaporation rate of MA from aqueous droplets has been measured over a range of relative humidities and the pure component vapor pressure determined to be (1.7 ± 0.2) × 10-3 Pa. Variation in the refractive index (RI) of an aqueous MA droplet with relative humidity (RH) allowed the subcooled liquid RI of MA to be estimated as 1.481 ± 0.001. Measurements of the hygroscopic growth are shown to be consistent with equilibrium model predictions from previous studies. Simultaneous measurements of the droplet composition, size, and refractive index have been made during ozonolysis at RHs in the range 50-80%, providing insight into the volatility of organic products, changes in the droplet hygroscopicity, and optical properties. Exposure of the aqueous droplets to ozone leads to the formation of products with a wide range of volatilities spanning from involatile to volatile. Reactive uptake coefficients show a weak dependence on ozone concentration, but no dependence on RH or salt concentration. The time evolving RI depends significantly on the RH at which the oxidation proceeds and can even show opposing trends; while the RI increases with ozone exposure at low relative humidity, the RI decreases when the oxidation proceeds at high relative humidity. The variations in RI are broadly consistent with a framework for predicting RIs for organic components published by Cappa et al. (J. Geophys. Res. 2011, 116, D15204). Once oxidized, particles are shown to form amorphous phases on drying rather than crystallization, with slow evaporation kinetics of residual water.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5680-5691
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry A
Issue number30
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2014


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