Laboratory studies on secondary organic aerosol formation from crude oil vapors

R. Li, B. B. Palm, A. Borbon, M. Graus, C. Warneke, A. M. Ortega, D. A. Day, W. H. Brune, J. L. Jimenez, J. A. De Gouw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Airborne measurements of aerosol composition and gas phase compounds over the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in June 2010 indicated the presence of high concentrations of secondary organic aerosol (SOA) formed from organic compounds of intermediate volatility. In this work, we investigated SOA formation from South Louisiana crude oil vapors reacting with OH in a Potential Aerosol Mass flow reactor. We use the dependence of evaporation time on the saturation concentration (C*) of the SOA precursors to separate the contribution of species of different C* to total SOA formation. This study shows consistent results with those at the DWH oil spill: (1) organic compounds of intermediate volatility with C* = 105-106 μg m-3 contribute the large majority of SOA mass formed, and have much larger SOA yields (0.37 for C* = 105 and 0.21 for C* = 106 μg m-3) than more volatile compounds with C*≥107 μg m-3, (2) the mass spectral signature of SOA formed from oxidation of the less volatile compounds in the reactor shows good agreement with that of SOA formed at DWH oil spill. These results also support the use of flow reactors simulating atmospheric SOA formation and aging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12566-12574
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 5 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry


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