A study of volatility by composition, heating, and dilution measurements of secondary organic aerosol from 1,3,5-trimethylbenzene
Studies of the volatility distribution of secondary organic aerosol (SOA) from aromatic compounds are limited compared with SOA from biogenic monoterpenes. In this study, the volatility distribution was investigated by composition, heating, and dilution measurements for SOA formed from the photooxidation of 1,3,5-trimethylbenzene in the presence of NOx. Composition studies revealed that highly oxygenated monomers (C9H14Ox, x = 4–7) and dimers (C18H26Ox, x = 8–12) are the major products in SOA particles. Highly oxygenated molecules (HOMs) with five or more oxygens were formed during photochemical aging, whereas dimers degraded during photochemical aging. HOMs with five or more oxygens may be produced from the photooxidation of phenol-type gaseous products, whereas dimers in the particle phase may be photolyzed to smaller molecules during photochemical aging. The results of composition, heating, and dilution measurements showed that fresh SOA that formed from 1,3,5-trimethylbenzene (TMB) photooxidation includes low-volatility compounds with <1 µg m−3 saturation concentrations, which are attributed to dimers. Similar results were reported for α-pinene SOA in previous studies. Low-volatility compounds with <1 µg m−3 saturation concentrations are not included in the volatility distributions employed in the standard volatility basis-set (VBS) approach. Improvements in the organic aerosol model will be necessary for the study of anthropogenic SOA as well as biogenic SOA.