Organic acids make up a significant fraction of the organic mass in atmospheric aerosol particles. The calculation of gas-liquid-solid equilibrium partitioning of the organic acid is therefore critical for accurate determination of atmospheric aerosol physicochemical properties and processes such as new particle formation and activation to cloud condensation nuclei. Previously, an adsorption isotherm-based statistical thermodynamic model was developed for capturing solute concentration-activity relationships for multicomponent aqueous solutions over the entire concentration range (Dutcher et al. J. Phys. Chem. C/A 2011, 2012, 2013), with model parameters for energies of adsorption successfully related to dipole-dipole electrostatic forces in solute-solvent and solvent-solvent interactions for both electrolytes and organics (Ohm et al. J. Phys. Chem. A 2015). However, careful attention is needed for weakly dissociating semivolatile organic acids. Dicarboxylic acids, such as malonic acid and glutaric acid are treated here as a mixture of nondissociated organic solute (HA) and dissociated solute (H+ + A-). It was found that the apparent dissociation was greater than that predicted by known dissociation constants alone, emphasizing the effect of dissociation on osmotic and activity coefficient predictions. To avoid additional parametrization from the mixture approach, an expression was used to relate the Debye-Hückel hard-core collision diameter to the adjustable solute-solvent intermolecular distance. An improved reference state treatment for electrolyte-organic aqueous mixtures, such as that observed here with partial dissociation, has also been proposed. This work results in predictive correlations for estimation of organic acid and water activities for which there is little or no activity data.
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This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1554936.