Atmospheric Pressure Non-thermal Plasma for Air Purification: Ions and Ionic Reactions Induced by dc+ Corona Discharges in Air Contaminated with Acetone and Methanol


Atmospheric pressure mass spectrometry (APCI-MS) was used to investigate the positive ions in air containing acetone (A), methanol (M) and mixtures thereof (A + M), subjected to +dc corona discharges. The results of experiments with isotopically labelled analogues, perdeuterated acetone Adeu and methanol Mdeu, and relevant thermochemical data found in the literature allowed us to identify the main ionic reactions occurring in single component systems (A or M) and in binary mixtures (A + M). It is concluded that, thanks to its significantly higher proton affinity, A is very efficient in quenching M-derived ions at atmospheric pressure. These conclusions provide a rationale for interpreting the results of a parallel investigation on the reciprocal effects of M and A when treated together in air at atmospheric pressure with +dc corona in a non-thermal plasma reactor developed previously in our laboratory. Specifically, we observed a marked drop in the degradation efficiency of methanol when it was treated in the presence of an equivalent amount of acetone. This effect is attributed to acetone interfering with ion-initiated degradation processes of methanol, and supports the conclusion that ions and ionic reactions are important in dc+ corona induced oxidation of volatile organic pollutants in air.

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The authors thank GioloCenter for financial support to their research on VOC decomposition by application of non-thermal plasma.

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Correspondence to Ester Marotta.

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Giardina, A., Schiorlin, M., Marotta, E. et al. Atmospheric Pressure Non-thermal Plasma for Air Purification: Ions and Ionic Reactions Induced by dc+ Corona Discharges in Air Contaminated with Acetone and Methanol. Plasma Chem Plasma Process 40, 1091–1107 (2020).

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  • Corona discharges
  • VOC
  • Advanced oxidation
  • Ions in air plasma
  • Atmospheric pressure mass spectrometry
  • Air pollution control