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Publication Date


Document Type

Honors Project




Aerosols, Atmospheric chemistry, Chemical kinetics, Ultraviolet spectroscopy, UV-VIS, Kinetics


Atmospheric aerosols are composites of solid and liquid particles suspended in the troposphere that impact the climate in considerable ways. Perhaps most compelling is their effect on Earth’s radiative budget, as atmospheric aerosols are one of the largest cooling contributors to the climate model. Despite their importance in understanding climate, much remains unknown about formation processes as well as the reaction products in these aerosols. This work sets out to expand the knowledge about reaction pathways of Secondary Organic Aerosols by creating more complex aerosol mimicking solutions than those that have been previously studied. The scope of this project ranges from experimental setup, and examining various diagnostic components of aerosol mimicking solutions, such as what effect temperature, visible light, and pH have on these solutions, and proceeds to study more complex aerosol mimicking solutions that contain various types of structurally similar, atmospherically relevant alcohols. By studying various alcohols, this work investigates why different alcohols affect the rate of reactivity in aerosol mimicking solutions differently. Our studies have concluded that the effect of alcohols on reaction rate is most likely not polarity dependent, and here we hypothesize that alcohols affect the rate of formation of high molecular weight products, and that different effects may be due to the varied effectiveness of certain alcohols to act as structural organizers.




63 pages : color illustrations. Honors project, Smith College, 2016. Includes bibliographical references (pages 62-63)