Oxygenated products formed from OH-initiated reactions of trimethylbenzene: Autoxidation and accretion

Yuwei Wang, Archit Mehra, Jordan E. Krechmer, Gan Yang, Xiaoyu Hu, Yiqun Lu, Andrew Lambe, Manjula Canagaratna, Jianmin Chen, Douglas Worsnop, Hugh Coe, Lin Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Gas-phase oxidation pathways and products of anthropogenic volatile organic compounds (VOCs), mainly aromatics, are the subject of intensive research, with attention paid to their contributions to secondary organic aerosol (SOA) formation and potentially new particle formation (NPF) in the urban atmosphere. In this study, a series of OHinitiated oxidation experiments of trimethylbenzene (TMB, C9H12) including 1,2,4-TMB, 1,3,5-TMB, 1,2,3-TMB, and 1,2,4-(methyl-D3)-TMBs (C9H9D3) were investigated in an oxidation flow reactor (OFR) in the absence and presence of NOx. Products were measured using a suite of state-ofthe-art instruments, i.e. a nitrate-based chemical ionization-atmospheric pressure interface time-of-flight mass spectrometer (nitrate CI-APi-TOF), an iodide-adduct chemical ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometer (iodide CI-TOF) equipped with a Filter Inlet for Gases and AEROsols (FIGAERO), and a Vocus proton-transfer-reaction mass spectrometer (Vocus PTR). A large number of C9 products with 1-11 oxygen atoms and C18 products presumably formed from dimerization of C9 peroxy radicals were observed, hinting at the extensive existence of autoxidation and accretion reaction pathways in the OH-initiated oxidation reactions of TMBs. Oxidation products of 1,2,4-(methyl-D3)-TMBs with deuterium atoms in different methyl substituents were then used as a molecular basis to propose potential autoxidation reaction pathways. Accretion of C9 peroxy radicals is the most significant for aromatics with meta-substituents and the least for aromatics with ortho-substituents if the number and size of substituted groups are identical. The presence of NOx would suppress the formation of highly oxygenated molecules (HOMs) of C18 and enhance the formation of organonitrates and even dinitrate organic compounds. Our results show that the oxidation products of TMB are much more diverse and could be more oxygenated than the current mechanisms predict.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9563-9579
Number of pages17
JournalAtmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 14 Aug 2020


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