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Published May 1990 | public
Journal Article

The distribution of ammonium salts among a size and composition dispersed aerosol


The chemical and physical processes that govern the distribution of ammonium salt condensate over a size- and composition-dispersed aerosol particle population are considered. From an analysis of the concentration profiles of ammonia, nitric acid, and hydrochloric acid vapors surrounding an aerosol particle, the single particle fluxes of these species are derived. By evaluating the time scales for equilibration of the vapor-phase species with a population of aerosol particles, it is found that ammonium salts in the gas and aerosol phases are not always in equilibrium, especially under less polluted and cooler conditions. The principles that govern the distribution of ammonium salts on aerosol particles of different size and composition are identified, and it is found that thermodynamic equilibrium often does not uniquely determine the distribution of ammonium salt condensate. Thus it is concluded that both transport and thermodynamic properties of the aerosol population govern the distribution of ammonium salt condensate.

Additional Information

This work was supported by the State of California Air Resources Board under Agreement No. A932-054.

Additional details

September 15, 2023
October 23, 2023