Title page for ETD etd-05042011-163554

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Rockhold, Jr., Thomas Hall
URN etd-05042011-163554
Title Development of a Knudsen Cell Reactor for Measuring the Uptake of Atmospheric Gases on Particulate Matter
Degree Master of Science
Department Chemistry
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Morris, John R. Committee Chair
Long, Gary L. Committee Member
Tanko, James M. Committee Member
  • Uptake Coefficient
  • Volatile Organic Compounds
  • Ethanol
  • Knudsen Cell
  • Silicon Dioxide
  • Mineral Dust Aerosols
Date of Defense 2011-04-20
Availability unrestricted
Heterogeneous reactions between mineral dust aerosols and gas phase volatile

organic compounds have the potential to impact important atmospheric chemical

processes. However, little is known about the uptake and reactivity of volatile organic

compounds on particulates found in the environment. A Knudsen cell was designed and

constructed for providing precise measurement of reaction probabilities within these

systems. The instrument was validated through a series of experiments. After validating

the Knudsen cell against several key benchmarks, the instrument was used to measure the

uptake coefficient for ethanol on particulate silicon dioxide. The uptake coefficient of

ethanol on silicon dioxide, a common compound in mineral dust aerosols, was

determined to be 7 x 10-7. Therefore, uptake of ethanol on silicon dioxide would be

competitive with the loss of other volatile organic compounds on silicon dioxide, which

show similar rates of uptake. The Knudsen cell was validated and measured the uptake

of ethanol on silicon dioxide, and future work with the Knudsen cell will study the uptake

of chemical warfare agent simulants on metal oxides.

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