Size distributions and formation of dicarboxylic acids in atmospheric particles

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2099-2107
Journal / PublicationAtmospheric Environment
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


The PM2.5 concentrations and the size distributions of dicarboxylic acids in Hong Kong were studied. Eleven sets of daily PM2.5 samples were obtained at a downtown sampling site during the period of 5-16 December 2000 using an R&P speciation PM2.5 sampler. About 6-12% of the total oxalic acid was found in the gas phase in some samples. A good correlation between succinate and sulfate (R2 = 0.88) and a moderate correlation between oxalate and sulfate (R2 = 0.74) were found. Sampling artifacts of oxalate, malonate and succinate were found to be negligible. A total of 18 sets of 48-96 h size distribution data on dicarboxylic acids, sulfate, nitrate and sodium at an urban site and a rural site from June 2000 to May 2001 were obtained using a Micro-Orifice Uniform Deposit Impactor. Data from both sites show similar size distribution characteristics of the dicarboxylic acids. The condensation mode of oxalate was usually observed at 0.177-0.32 μm. The location of the peak of the droplet mode of oxalate was associated with that of sulfate. When the peak of sulfate in the droplet mode appeared at 0.32-0.54 μm, the peak of oxalate sometimes appeared at 0.32-0.54 μm and sometimes shifted to 0.54-1.0 μm. When the peak of sulfate in the droplet mode appeared at 0.54-1.0 μm, the peak of oxalate sometimes appeared at 0.54-1.0 μm and sometimes shifted to 1.0-1.8 μm. Oxalate, succinate and sulfate found in the droplet mode were attributed to in-cloud formation. The slight shift of the oxalate peak from 0.32-0.54 to 0.54-1.0 μm or from 0.54-1.0 to 1.0-1.8 μm was ascribed to minor oxalate evaporation after in-cloud formation. The maximum peak of malonate sometimes appeared in the droplet mode and sometimes appeared at 3.1-6.2 μm. The formation of malonate is associated to the reactions between sea salt and malonic acid. © 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

Research Area(s)

  • Evaporation, Gas-particle conversion, Hong Kong, Malonate, Oxalate, PM2.5, Sampling artifacts, Semi-volatile species, Succinate