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Particulate Size Distribution and Sources Evaluation of n-Alkanes during Long-Term Haze Episode around Chaohu Lake, Eastern China

Category: Aerosol and Atmospheric Chemistry

Volume: 17 | Issue: 8 | Pages: 1975-1984
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2017.05.0189
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Qiu-Ping Xu1, Ji-Zhong Wang 1, Jia-Qin Liu2, Shu-Chuan Peng1

  • 1 School of Resources and Environmental Engineering, Hefei University of Technology, Hefei 230009, China
  • 2 Institute of Industry and Equipment Technology, Hefei University of Technology, Hefei 230009, China


Low concentrations of n-alkanes were observed at the sites close to Chaohu Lake.
Particles bounded n-alkans in study area were majorly from anthropogenic sources.
Generally, n-alkanes were distributed in fine particles in all sampling sites.
GMDs were significantly correlated against to LogPLo for all sampling sites.
mg and bg obtained from all locations appeared a significant linear correlation.


n-Alkanes (from nC16 to nC32) associated with particulate matters were determined in the ambient air around Chaohu Lake, Eastern China, from October to December in 2014 during a long-term haze episode. The total concentrations of particle bounded n-alkanes varied from 332 to 2500 ng m–3, with the homologues of nC24nC30 the most abundant species. Spatial analysis revealed that low concentrations of n-alkanes existed at the sites close to Chaohu Lake, while high concentrations were generally at locations distant from the lake. For all aggregated fractions, most n-alkanes were distributed in fine particles with the mean geometric mean diameter (GMD) varying from 3.0 ± 0.6 µm for nC16 to 2.1 ± 0.6 µm for nC32. Short chain n-alkanes were accumulated in coarse particles with a unimodal distribution, but long chain aliphatic hydrocarbons appeared to have a biomodal distribution in fine and coarse particles. The mass size distribution of individual n-alkane homologue was predominantly influenced by its volatility; thus GMDs were well correlated with the logarithmically transformed subcooled liquid vapor pressures (PLo, Pa) of n-alkanes at each sampling site, following the equation: GMDs = mgLogPLo + bg. Furthermore, mg and bg obtained from all locations tended to exhibit a significant linear correlation. This suggests that all saturated aliphatic hydrocarbons follow a similar accumulation mode during a haze episode, which allows us to predict the size distribution and GMD of a compound based on its PLo.


Chaohu Lake n-alkanes particulate matter size distribution geometric mean diameter

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