Heterogeneous reactions of methylglyoxal in acidic media: implications for secondary organic aerosol formation.
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Recent environmental chamber studies have suggested that acid-catalyzed particle-phase reactions of organic carbonyls contribute to the formation of secondary organic aerosol (SOA). We report the first measurements of uptake of methylglyoxal on liquid H2SO4 over the temperature range of 250-298 K and acidic range of 55-85 wt %. From the time-dependent uptake the effective Henry's law solubility constant (H*) was determined. Heterogeneous reactions of methylglyoxal are shown to decrease with acidity and involve negligible formation of sulfate esters. Hydration and polymerization likely explain the measured uptake of methylglyoxal on H2SO4 and the measurements do not support an acid-catalyzed uptake of methylglyoxal. The results imply that heterogeneous reactions of methylglyoxal contribute to organic aerosol formation in less acidic media and hydration and polymerization of methylglyoxal in the atmospheric aerosol-phase are dependent on the hygroscopicity, rather than the acidity of the aerosols.