Development of a new smog chamber for studying the impact of different UV lamps on SAPRC chemical mechanism predictions and aerosol formation

Stephen White*, Dennys Angove, Kangwei Li, Ian Campbell, Adrian Element, Brendan Halliburton, Steve Lavrencic, Donald Cameron, Ian Jamie, Merched Azzi

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    9 Citations (Scopus)


    Environmental context: Chemical mechanisms are an important component of predictive air quality models that are developed using smog chambers. In smog chamber experiments, UV lamps are often used to simulate sunlight, and the choice of lamp can influence the obtained data, leading to differences in model predictions. We investigate the effect of various UV lamps on the prediction accuracy of a key mechanism in atmospheric chemistry.

    Abstract: A new smog chamber was constructed at CSIRO following the decommissioning of the previous facility. The new chamber has updated instrumentation, is 35 % larger, and has been designed for chemical mechanism and aerosol formation studies. To validate its performance, characterisation experiments were conducted to determine wall loss and radical formation under irradiation by UV lamps. Two different types of blacklights commonly used in indoor chambers are used as light sources, and the results using these different lamps are investigated. Gas-phase results were compared against predictions from the latest version of the SAPRC chemical mechanism. The SAPRC mechanism gave accurate results for hydrocarbon reaction and oxidation formation for propene and o-xylene experiments, regardless of the light source used, with variations in ozone concentrations between experiment and modelled results typically less than 10 % over 6-h irradiation. The SAPRC predictions for p-xylene photooxidation showed overprediction in the rate of oxidation, although no major variations were determined in mechanism results for different blacklight sources. Additionally, no significant differences in the yields of aerosol arising from new particle formation were discernible regardless of the light source used under these conditions.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)171-182
    Number of pages12
    JournalEnvironmental Chemistry
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2018


    • ozone
    • p-xylene
    • propene
    • smog chamber characterisation
    • volatile organic compounds


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