The reduction of HNO3 by volatile organic compounds emitted by motor vehicles


Nitric acid (HNO3) was reduced in a flow tube by volatile organic carbon compounds (VOCs) generated from engine oil vapor. The primary reaction product was believed to be HONO. The reaction was not enhanced when Teflon® Raschig rings were added to the flow tube to increase surface area, thereby showing the reaction to be homogeneous under the conditions studied. The HONO formation observed ranged between 0.1 and 0.6 ppb h−1, with a mean of 0.3 ± 0.1 ppb h−1, for typical HNO3 concentrations of 4–5 ppb and estimated concentrations of the reactive components in the engine oil vapor between 200 and 300 ppt. The observations in this study compare well to a recently published field study conducted in Houston that observed average formation rates of 0.6 ± 0.3 ppb h−1. Water vapor was found to decrease the HONO formation rate by ∼0.1 ppb h−1 for every 1% increase in the water mixing ratio.

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Atmospheric Environment



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