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Published June 12, 2007 | Published
Journal Article Open

Cloud condensation nucleus (CCN) behavior of organic aerosol particles generated by atomization of water and methanol solutions


Cloud condensation nucleus (CCN) experiments were carried out for malonic acid, succinic acid, oxalacetic acid, DL-malic acid, glutaric acid, DL-glutamic acid monohydrate, and adipic acid, using both water and methanol as atomization solvents, at three operating supersaturations (0.11%, 0.21%, and 0.32%) in the Caltech three-column CCN instrument (CCNC3). Predictions of CCN behavior for five of these compounds were made using the Aerosol Diameter Dependent Equilibrium Model (ADDEM). The experiments presented here expose important considerations associated with the laboratory measurement of the CCN behavior of organic compounds. Choice of atomization solvent results in significant differences in CCN activation for some of the compounds studied, which could result from residual solvent, particle morphology differences, and chemical reactions between the particle and gas phases. Also, significant changes in aerosol size distribution occurred after classification in a differential mobility analyzer (DMA) for malonic acid and glutaric acid, preventing confident interpretation of experimental data for these two compounds. Filter analysis of adipic acid atomized from methanol solution indicates that gas-particle phase reactions may have taken place after atomization and before methanol was removed from the sample gas stream. Careful consideration of these experimental issues is necessary for successful design and interpretation of laboratory CCN measurements.

Additional Information

© Author(s) 2007. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Received: 10 November 2006 – Published in Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss.: 15 December 2006 Revised: 14 March 2007 – Accepted: 28 March 2007 – Published: 12 June 2007 The authors would like to thank F.J. Brechtel, J.H. Kroll, A. Nenes, and A.P. Olsen for helpful suggestions and comments, M.C. Facchini, G. Kiss, and S. Decesari for experimental surface tension data for the ADDEM, and H. Gates for DACAD flow calibrations. The authors would also like to thank B. Svenningsson for her helpful and insightful comments. This work was supported by National Science Foundation grant ATM-0340832.

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