AuthorJohnson, Brian James.
AdvisorBurke, Michael F.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractA measurement of the stable carbon isotopic composition of atmospheric formaldehyde was undertaken as a means of testing current photochemical theories. Sulfito surfaces were shown to meet the stringent analytical requirements of the project; an extensive characterization of these surfaces was performed for the first time. Models were developed to describe the chemical evolution of the surfaces during sampling. It was established that potassium salts have more favorable properties for an atmospheric collection system than do sodium salts. Considerable selectivity in collection was also demonstrated. A highly selective multistep procedure for the isolation and chemical oxidation of collected formaldehyde was developed expressly for this project. A previously unreported combination of reagents, HgCl₂ and AgClO₄, was used in the final reaction step of the procedure. Through the use of synthetic samples, the method was shown to be isotopically reproducible and highly chemically selective. The first data for the carbon-13 content of atmospheric formaldehyde have been obtained, with an observed mean value of δ¹³C = -17‰. This value is enriched in carbon-13 over the known atmospheric sources of formaldehyde; isotopic fractionation in the atmosphere is therefore indicated. It is believed that fractionation due to photolysis can account for the observed effect.