Heterogeneous interactions of nitryl hypochlorite and hydrogen chloride with sulfuric acid tetrahydrate: implications for the stratosphere Academic Article uri icon


  • The reaction probabilities for ClONO2 + H2O → HOCl + HNO3 (1) and ClONO2 + HCl → Cl2 + HNO3 (2) have been investigated on sulfuric acid tetrahydrate (SAT, H2SO4·4H2O) surfaces at temperatures between 190 and 230 K and at reactant concentrations that are typical in the lower stratosphere, using a fast-flow reactor coupled to a quadrupole mass spectrometer. The results indicate that the reaction probabilities as well as HCl uptake depend strongly on the thermodynamic state of SAT surface: they decrease significantly with decreasing H2O partial pressure at a given temperature, and decrease with increasing temperature at a given H2O partial pressure, as the SAT changes from the H2O-rich form to the H2SO4-rich form. For H2O-rich SAT at 195 K γ1 ≈ 0.01 and γ2 ≥ 0.1, whereas the values for H2SO4-rich SAT decrease by more than 2 orders of magnitude. At low concentrations of HCl, close to those found in the stratosphere, the amount of HCl taken up by H2O-rich SAT films corresponds to a coverage of the order of a tenth of a monolayer (≈1014 molecules cm-2); H2SO4-rich SAT films take up 2 orders of magnitude less HCl (<1012 molecules cm-2). Substantial HCl uptake at high HCl concentrations is also observed, as a result of surface melting. The data reveal that frozen stratospheric sulfate aerosols may play an important role in chlorine activation in the winter polar stratosphere via processes similar to those occurring on the surfaces of polar stratospheric cloud particles. © 1994 American Chemical Society.

author list (cited authors)

  • Zhang, R., Jayne, J. T., & Molina, M. J.

citation count

  • 35

publication date

  • January 1994