Articles | Volume 8, issue 4
Development and technical paper
22 Apr 2015
Development and technical paper |  | 22 Apr 2015

The Secondary Organic Aerosol Processor (SOAP v1.0) model: a unified model with different ranges of complexity based on the molecular surrogate approach

F. Couvidat and K. Sartelet

Abstract. In this paper the Secondary Organic Aerosol Processor (SOAP v1.0) model is presented. This model determines the partitioning of organic compounds between the gas and particle phases. It is designed to be modular with different user options depending on the computation time and the complexity required by the user. This model is based on the molecular surrogate approach, in which each surrogate compound is associated with a molecular structure to estimate some properties and parameters (hygroscopicity, absorption into the aqueous phase of particles, activity coefficients and phase separation).

Each surrogate can be hydrophilic (condenses only into the aqueous phase of particles), hydrophobic (condenses only into the organic phases of particles) or both (condenses into both the aqueous and the organic phases of particles). Activity coefficients are computed with the UNIFAC (UNIversal Functional group Activity Coefficient; Fredenslund et al., 1975) thermodynamic model for short-range interactions and with the Aerosol Inorganic–Organic Mixtures Functional groups Activity Coefficients (AIOMFAC) parameterization for medium- and long-range interactions between electrolytes and organic compounds. Phase separation is determined by Gibbs energy minimization.

The user can choose between an equilibrium representation and a dynamic representation of organic aerosols (OAs). In the equilibrium representation, compounds in the particle phase are assumed to be at equilibrium with the gas phase. However, recent studies show that the organic aerosol is not at equilibrium with the gas phase because the organic phases could be semi-solid (very viscous liquid phase). The condensation–evaporation of organic compounds could then be limited by the diffusion in the organic phases due to the high viscosity. An implicit dynamic representation of secondary organic aerosols (SOAs) is available in SOAP with OAs divided into layers, the first layer being at the center of the particle (slowly reaches equilibrium) and the final layer being near the interface with the gas phase (quickly reaches equilibrium). Although this dynamic implicit representation is a simplified approach to model condensation–evaporation with a low number of layers and short CPU (central processing unit) time, it shows good agreements with an explicit representation of condensation–evaporation (no significant differences after a few hours of condensation).