Temperature effects on sulfuric acid aerosol nucleation and growth: initial results from the TANGENT study

Tiszenkel, Lee; Stangl, Chris; Krasnomowitz, Justin; Ouyang, Qi; Yu, Huan; Apsokardu, Michael J.; Johnston, Murray V.; Lee, Shan-Hu

New particle formation (NPF) consists of two steps: nucleation and subsequent growth. At present, chemical and physical mechanisms that govern these two processes are not well understood. Here, we report initial results obtained from the TANGENT (Tandem Aerosol Nucleation and Growth Environment Tube) experiments. The TANGENT apparatus enables us to study these two processes independently. The present study focuses on the effects of temperature on sulfuric acid nucleation and further growth. Our results show that lower temperatures enhance both the nucleation and growth rate. However, under temperatures below 268 K the effects of temperature on the nucleation rate become less significant and the nucleation rate becomes less dependent on relative humidity, indicating that particle formation in the conditions of our flow tube takes place via barrierless nucleation at lower temperatures. We also examined the growth of newly formed particles under differing temperature conditions for nucleation and further growth. Our results show that newly nucleated clusters formed at low temperatures can indeed survive evaporation and grow in a warmer environment in the presence of SO2 and ozone and potentially other contaminant vapors. These results imply that some heterogeneous reactions involving nanoparticles affect nucleation and growth of newly formed particles.

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Tiszenkel, Lee / Stangl, Chris / Krasnomowitz, Justin / et al: Temperature effects on sulfuric acid aerosol nucleation and growth: initial results from the TANGENT study. 2019. Copernicus Publications.

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