Secondary organic aerosol yields of 12-carbon alkanes
Secondary organic aerosol (SOA) yields were measured for cyclododecane, hexylcyclohexane, n-dodecane, and 2-methylundecane under high-NO x conditions, in which alkyl proxy radicals (RO 2) react primarily with NO, and under low-NO x conditions, in which RO 2 reacts primarily with HO 2. Experiments were run until 95–100% of the initial alkane had reacted. Particle wall loss was evaluated as two limiting cases using a new approach that requires only suspended particle number-size distribution data and accounts for size-dependent particle wall losses and condensation. SOA yield differed by a factor of 2 between the two limiting cases, but the same trends among alkane precursors were observed for both limiting cases. Vapor-phase wall losses were addressed through a modeling study and increased SOA yield uncertainty by approximately 30%. SOA yields were highest from cyclododecane under both NO x conditions. SOA yields ranged from 3.3% (dodecane, low-NO x conditions) to 160% (cyclododecane, high-NO x conditions). Under high-NO x conditions, SOA yields increased from 2-methylundecane < dodecane ~ hexylcyclohexane < cyclododecane, consistent with previous studies. Under low-NO x conditions, SOA yields increased from 2-methylundecane ~ dodecane < hexylcyclohexane < cyclododecane. The presence of cyclization in the parent alkane structure increased SOA yields, whereas the presence of branch points decreased SOA yields due to increased vapor-phase fragmentation. Vapor-phase fragmentation was found to be more prevalent under high-NO x conditions than under low-NO x conditions. For different initial mixing ratios of the same alkane and same NO x conditions, SOA yield did not correlate with SOA mass throughout SOA growth, suggesting kinetically limited SOA growth for these systems.