Evolution of the chemical fingerprint of biomass burning organic aerosol during aging


  • Bertrand Amelie
  • Stefenelli Giulia
  • Jen Coty
  • Pieber Simone
  • Bruns Emily
  • Ni Haiyan
  • Temime-Roussel Brice
  • Slowik Jay
  • Goldstein Allen
  • El Haddad Imad
  • Baltensperger Urs
  • Prévôt André S. H.
  • Wortham Henri
  • Marchand Nicolas

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A thermal desorption aerosol gas chromatograph coupled to a high resolution – time of flight – aerosol mass spectrometer (TAG-AMS) was connected to an atmospheric chamber for the molecular characterization of the evolution of organic aerosol (OA) emitted by woodstove appliances for residential heating. Two log woodstoves (old and modern) and one pellet stove were operated under typical conditions. Emissions were aged during a time equivalent to 5 h of atmospheric aging. The five to seven samples were collected and analyzed with the TAG-AMS during each experiment. We detected and quantified over 70 compounds, including levoglucosan and nitrocatechols. We calculate the emission factor (EF) of these tracers in the primary emissions and highlight the influence of the combustion efficiency on these emissions. Smoldering combustion contributes to a higher EF and a more complex composition. We also demonstrate the effect of atmospheric aging on the chemical fingerprint. The tracers are sorted into three categories according to the evolution of their concentration: primary compounds, non-conventional primary compounds, and secondary compounds. For each, we provide a quantitative overview of their contribution to the OA mass at different times of the photo-oxidative process.

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