Kinetics of the reactions of isoprene-derived epoxides in model tropospheric aerosol solutions


Polyols and organic sulfates have recently been identified in the secondary organic aerosol (SOA) formed in the photooxidation of isoprene in both the laboratory and under ambient atmospheric conditions. Nuclear magnetic resonance methods were used to monitor the bulk reaction kinetics of acid-catalyzed hydrolysis reactions for isoprene- and 1,3-butadiene-derived epoxides in order to determine the rates for such reactions in aerosols under the previously studied laboratory conditions and under ambient atmospheric conditions. The measured rate constants were found to vary over 7 orders of magnitude. For the fast case of the hydrolysis of 1,2-epoxyisoprene, the lifetime at neutral pH was found to be only 3 min. On the other hand, for the relatively slow reaction of 1,2-epoxy-3,4-hydroxybutane, the lifetime at the most acidic conditions commonly observed in tropospheric aerosols (pH 1.5) was found to be 7.7 h, a value that is still less than the several day lifetime of tropospheric aerosols. Therefore, the present results suggest that, despite a wide range in reactivities, several possible reactions of isoprene-derived epoxides should be kinetically efficient on atmospheric SOA. The reactions were also studied with the elevated sulfate concentrations that are often characteristic of tropospheric aerosols, and sulfate products were identified for all species except 1,2-epoxyisoprene. Other nucleophiles that may be present in aerosols (nitrate, chloride, bromide, and iodide) were also investigated, and it was found that nitrate and sulfate have similar nucleophilic strength, while the halides are much stronger nucleophiles in their reactions with epoxides. Therefore, aerosols which contain significant concentrations of these species may be expected to readily form species similar to those already identified for the reactions of epoxides with sulfate.


American Chemical Society

Publication Date


Publication Title

Environmental Science and Technology


Chemistry and Biochemistry

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Epoxy compounds, Chemical kinetics, Research methodology, Nuclear magnetic resonance, Photochemical oxidants, Tropospheric aerosols