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The compound 6-methyl-5-hepten-2-one (6-MHO) is a product of skin oil ozonolysis and is of significance in understanding the role of human occupants in the indoor environment. We present a joint computational and experimental study investigating the adsorption of 6-MHO on two model indoor relevant surfaces, SiO2, a model for a glass window, and TiO2, a component of paint and self-cleaning surfaces. Our classical force field-based molecular dynamics, ab initio molecular dynamics simulations, and FTIR absorption spectra indicate 6-MHO can adsorb on to both of these surfaces via hydrogen and π-hydrogen bonds and is quite stable due to the linear geometry of 6-MHO. Detailed analysis of 6-MHO on the SiO2 surface shows that relative humidity does not impact surface adsorption and adsorbed water does not displace 6-MHO from the hydroxylated SiO2 surface. Additionally, the desorption kinetics of 6-MHO from the hydroxylated SiO2 surface is compared to other compounds found in indoor environments and 6-MHO is shown to desorb with a first order rate constant that is approximately four times slower than that of limonene, but six times faster than that of carvone. In addition, our joint results indicate 6-MHO forms a stronger interaction with the TiO2 surface compared to the SiO2 surface. This study suggests that skin oil ozonolysis products can partition to indoor surfaces leading to the formation of organic films.


Elianna S Frank, Hanyu Fan, Vicki H Grassian, Douglas J Tobias. Adsorption of 6-MHO on two indoor relevant surface materials: SiO2 and TiO2. Physical chemistry chemical physics : PCCP. 2023 Feb 01;25(5):3930-3941

PMID: 36648281

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