Articles | Volume 7, issue 1
Research article
29 Jan 2014
Research article |  | 29 Jan 2014

Design and characterization of a smog chamber for studying gas-phase chemical mechanisms and aerosol formation

X. Wang, T. Liu, F. Bernard, X. Ding, S. Wen, Y. Zhang, Z. Zhang, Q. He, S. Lü, J. Chen, S. Saunders, and J. Yu

Abstract. We describe here characterization of a new state-of-the-art smog chamber facility for studying atmospheric gas-phase and aerosol chemistry. The chamber consists of a 30 m3 fluorinated ethylene propylene (FEP) Teflon film reactor housed in a temperature-controlled enclosure equipped with black lamps as the light source. Temperature can be set in the range from −10 to 40 °C at accuracy of ±1 °C as measured by eight temperature sensors inside the enclosure and one just inside the reactor. Matrix air can be purified with non-methane hydrocarbons (NMHCs) < 0.5 ppb, NOx/O3/carbonyls < 1 ppb and particles < 1 cm−3. The photolysis rate of NO2 is adjustable between 0 and 0.49 min−1. At 298 K under dry conditions, the average wall loss rates of NO, NO2 and O3 were measured to be 1.41 × 10−4 min−1, 1.39 × 10−4 min−1 and 1.31 × 10−4 min−1, respectively, and the particle number wall loss rate was measured to be 0.17 h−1. Auxiliary mechanisms of this chamber are determined and included in the Master Chemical Mechanism to evaluate and model propene–NOx–air irradiation experiments. The results indicate that this new smog chamber can provide high-quality data for mechanism evaluation. Results of α-pinene dark ozonolysis experiments revealed secondary organic aerosol (SOA) yields comparable to those from other chamber studies, and the two-product model gives a good fit for the yield data obtained in this work. Characterization experiments demonstrate that our Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy Sciences (GIG-CAS), smog chamber facility can be used to provide valuable data for gas-phase chemistry and secondary aerosol formation.