Articles | Volume 8, issue 6
Research article
03 Jun 2015
Research article |  | 03 Jun 2015

Characterization and testing of a new environmental chamber

A. Leskinen, P. Yli-Pirilä, K. Kuuspalo, O. Sippula, P. Jalava, M.-R. Hirvonen, J. Jokiniemi, A. Virtanen, M. Komppula, and K. E. J. Lehtinen

Abstract. A 29 m3 Teflon chamber, designed for studies on the aging of combustion aerosols, at the University of Eastern Finland is described and characterized. The chamber is part of a research facility, called Ilmari, where small-scale combustion devices, a dynamometer for vehicle exhaust studies, dilution systems, the chamber, and cell and animal exposure devices are located side by side under the same roof. The small surface-to-volume ratio of the chamber enables reasonably long experiment times, with particle wall loss rate constants of 0.088, 0.080, 0.045, and 0.040 h−1 for polydisperse, 50, 100, and 200 nm monodisperse aerosols, respectively. The NO2 photolysis rate can be adjusted from 0 to 0.62 min−1. The irradiance spectrum is centered at either 350 or 365 nm, and the maximum irradiance, produced by up to 160 blacklight lamps, is 29.7 W m−2, which corresponds to the ultraviolet (UV) irradiance in Central Finland at noon on a sunny day in the midsummer. The temperature inside the chamber is uniform and can be kept at 25±1 °C. The chamber is kept in an overpressure with a moving top frame, which reduces sample dilution and entrance of contamination during an experiment. The functionality of the chamber was tested with oxidation experiments of toluene, resulting in secondary organic aerosol (SOA) yields of 12–42%, depending on the initial conditions, such as NOx concentration and UV irradiation. The highest gaseous oxidation product yields of 12.4–19.5% and 5.8–19.5% were detected with ions corresponding to methyl glyoxal (m/z 73.029) and 4-oxo-2-pentenal (m/z 99.044), respectively. Overall, reasonable yields of SOA and gaseous reaction products, comparable to those obtained in other laboratories, were obtained.

Short summary
A 29 m3 Teflon chamber was characterized and tested with oxidation experiments of toluene. Secondary organic aerosol yields of 12-42 % were obtained. These yields are comparable to those obtained in other laboratories.