Role of oleic acid coating in the heterogeneous uptake of dimethylamine by ammonium sulfate particles

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)988-997
Journal / PublicationAerosol Science and Technology
Issue number8
Online published8 May 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017


Reactive uptake by ammonium (NH4+) salts is one of the major pathways for the gas-to-particle partitioning of alkyl amines. Recent studies using particles of individual ammonium salts and mixtures with hydrophilic organics have revealed that the degree of amine uptake depends on the phase state of ammonium salts, the particulate water contents and particle viscosity. The role of hydrophobic organic compounds, another important category of particulate organics commonly detected in the ambient atmosphere, in amine uptake remains unknown. Here we report the uptake of dimethylamine (DMA) by ammonium sulfate (AS) particles coated with fresh or ozone-aged bulk oleic acid (OA) at 60%, 30%, and <5% relative humidities (RHs) using an electrodynamic balance coupled with Raman spectroscopy. OA and DMA were selected to represent hydrophobic organics and alkyl amines, respectively. Over 74% of the original NH4+ ions were displaced due to DMA uptake, except those conditioned at <5% RH. On the other hand, the fresh or aged bulk OA coating retarded DMA uptake by preventing the particle surface from effectively accommodating gaseous DMA molecules. Judging from the estimated DMA uptake coefficients, the retardation gradually intensified as the weight percentage of coating increased before leveling off, likely when the particle surface was completely covered by fresh or aged bulk OA. We propose that the accommodation of DMA on the particle coating is the rate-limiting step of DMA uptake. Intensive aging of the OA coating had little effect on the equilibrium particle-phase compositions but retarded DMA uptake.