The role of organic acids in new particle formation from methanesulfonic acid and methylamine

Rongjie Zhang, Jiewen Shen, Hong-Bin Xie, Jingwen Chen, Jonas Elm
2022 Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics  
Abstract. Atmospheric organic acids (OAs) are expected to enhance methanesulfonic acid (MSA)-driven new particle formation (NPF). However, the exact role of OAs in MSA-driven NPF remains unclear. Here, we employed a two-step strategy to probe the role of OAs in MSA–methylamine (MA) NPF. Initially, we evaluated the enhancing potential of 12 commonly detected OAs in ternary MA–MSA–OA cluster formation by considering the formation free energies of the (MSA)1(MA)1(OA)1 clusters and the atmospheric
more » ... oncentrations of the OAs. It was found that formic acid (ForA) has the highest potential to stabilize the MA–MSA clusters. The high enhancing potential of ForA results from its acidity, structural factors such as no intramolecular H bonds, and high atmospheric abundance. The second step is to extend the MSA–MA–ForA system to larger cluster sizes. The results indicate that ForA can indeed enhance MSA–MA NPF at atmospheric conditions (the upper limited temperature is 258.15 K), indicating that ForA might have an important role in MSA-driven NPF. The enhancing effect of ForA is mainly caused by an increased formation of the (MSA)2(MA)1 cluster, which is involved in the pathway of binary MSA–MA nucleation. Hence, our results indicate that OAs might be required to facilitate MSA-driven NPF in the atmosphere.
doi:10.5194/acp-22-2639-2022 fatcat:uh5jz3qmdvbj7juhsnvmu5z2hi