Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science

C. Marcolli and U. K. Krieger, J. Phys. Chem. A 110, 1881 (2006)

A correct description of the aerosol’s phases is required to determine its gas/particle partitioning, its reactivity and its water uptake and release. In this study, we investigate organic/electrolyte interactions of ammonium sulfate, nitrate and sodium chloride with substances containing carboxylic acids (COOH) and hydroxyl (OH)
functional groups. As organic model compounds, we chose polyols with different OH/CHn (n=0-3) ratios namely, glycerol, 1,4-butanediol, and 1,2-hexanediol as well as PEG 400 and a mixture of dicarboxylic acids consisting of malic, malonic, maleic, glutaric, and methylsuccinic acid. Bulk solubility and water activity measurements of these model systems together with a survey of literature data showed that NaCl is a salting out agent for alcohols and organic acids whereas ammonium nitrate and sulfate exhibited salting in and salting out tendencies depending on the nature and number of functional groups as well as on the concentration of the solution. All investigated salts induce a liquid-liquid phase separation in the 1,2-hexanediol/water system. Considering the composition of the tropospheric aerosol, such phase separations might indeed occur frequently when particles in the atmosphere are exposed to varying relative humidity. To complement the bulk experiments,
we investigated single particles consisting of ammonium sulfate and dicarboxylic acids as well as of ammonium sulfate and PEG 400 in an electrodynamic balance. Whereas the relative humidities of total deliquescence as well as the water uptake and release of the fully deliquesced particles are in good agreement with the bulk
results and represent thermodynamic equilibrium, the water uptake before full deliquescence shows significant deviations. These deviations may be caused by morphological effects.


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