Density functional theory study on OH-initiated atmospheric oxidation of m-xylene.
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The OH-initiated oxidation reactions of m-xylene are investigated using density functional theory. The structures, energetics, and relative stability of the OH-m-xylene reaction intermediate radicals have been determined, and their activation barriers have been analyzed to assess the energetically favorable pathways to propagate the oxidation. OH addition occurs preferentially at the two ortho positions with the branching ratios of 0.97, 0.02, and 0.01 for ortho, meta, and ipso additions, respectively. The results reveal that the OH-m-xylene-O2 peroxy radicals preferentially cyclize to form bicyclic radicals under atmospheric conditions rather than reacting with NO to lead to ozone formation, and the decomposition to O2 and the hydroxyl m-xylene adduct is competitive with the cyclization process. The bicyclic radicals of m-xylene formed from the major OH-addition pathways (i.e., ortho positions) are more probable to form bicyclic peroxy radicals by reacting with O2. This study provides thermochemical and kinetic data of the OH-initiated reactions of m-xylene for assessment of the role of aromatic hydrocarbons in photochemical production of ozone, toxic products, and secondary organic aerosols.
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