Abstract by Emily Burrell
Chemistry and Biochemistry
Computational and Experimental Study of the Kinetics and Thermodynamics of New Particle Formation
The measured concentration of particles in the atmosphere is often higher than predicted by atmospheric models. To reconcile the difference between measured and modeled particle concentrations new mechanisms for new particle formation (NPF) need to be determined. NPF has been modeled using classical nucleation theory (CNT). The first step in CNT is the nucleation step where molecular clusters form. In a second step, clusters grow into particles through coagulation. Recent research has shown that for prototypical clusters such as the H2SO4-H2O and MSA-H2O systems the rate of NPF is enhanced by the inclusion of ppt concentrations of amines to the reaction mixture. We investigated the ability of the acetic acid (CH3COOH)-H2O complex to act as a nucleating cluster for NPF in the absence and presence of trace amounts of amines. Our results indicate that the inclusion of amines into a reaction mixture containing CH3COOH and H2O serves to stabilize the CH3COOH-H2O complex and may serve as a viable mechanism for NPF in the atmosphere.