Project at a Glance

Title: Studies of the atmospheric chemistry of volatile organic compounds and of their atmospheric reaction products.

Principal Investigator / Author(s): Atkinson, Roger

Contractor: UC Riverside

Contract Number: 99-330

Research Program Area: Atmospheric Processes

Topic Areas: Chemistry & Reactivity


During this three-year experimental program, we have used the facilities and expertise available at the Air Pollution Research Center, University of California, Riverside, to investigate the atmospheric chemistry of selected volatile organic compounds found in California’s atmosphere. Experiments were carried out in large volume (5800 to ~7500 liter) chambers with analysis of reactants and products by gas chromatography (with flame ionization and mass spectrometric detection), in situ Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, and in situ direct air sampling atmospheric pressure ionization mass spectrometry. The gas chromatographic analyses included the use of Solid Phase MicroExtraction fibers coated with derivatizing agent for on-fiber derivatization of carbonyl-containing compounds, with subsequent gas chromatographic analyses of the carbonyl-containing compounds as their oximes. This techique was especially useful for the identification and quantification of 1,4-hydroxycarbonyls and of hydroxyaldehydes which are not commercially available and do not elute from gas chromatographic columns without prior derivatization. We have elucidated the atmospheric chemistry of alkanes and of one of their major first-generation reaction products, investigated the products of the reactions of ozone with alkenes, and studied the kinetics and products of the OH radical-initiated reactions of selected methylpentanols, diols and aldehydes. We also identified for the first time dimethyl- and ethyl-nitronaphthalenes,
potentially toxic air pollutants, in the Los Angeles atmosphere and showed that these alkyl-nitronaphthalenes are formed from the OH radical-initiated reactions of their parent alkylnaphthalenes. The data obtained in this Contract will prove important for including into chemical mechanisms for modeling photochemical air pollution and ozone-forming potentials. Additionally, the ambient concentrations and toxicity of the newly identified alkyl-nitronaphthalenes should be evaluated.

For questions regarding this research project, including available data and progress status, contact: Research Division staff at (916) 445-0753

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