Insights into the morphology of multicomponent organic and inorganic aerosols from molecular dynamics simulations

Karadima, Katerina S.; Mavrantzas, Vlasis G.; Pandis, Spyros N.

We explore the morphologies of multicomponent nanoparticles through atomistic molecular dynamics simulations under atmospherically relevant conditions. The particles investigated consist of both organic (cis-pinonic acid – CPA, 3-methyl-1,2,3-butanetricarboxylic acid – MBTCA, n-inline-formulaC20H42, n-inline-formulaC24H50, n-inline-formulaC30H62 or mixtures thereof) and inorganic (sulfate, ammonium and water) compounds. The effects of relative humidity, organic mass content and type of organic compound present in the nanoparticle are investigated. Phase separation is predicted for almost all simulated nanoparticles either between organics and inorganics or between hydrophobic and hydrophilic constituents. For oxygenated organics, our simulations predict an enrichment of the nanoparticle surface in organics, often in the form of islands depending on the level of humidity and organic mass fraction, giving rise to core–shell structures. In several cases the organics separate from the inorganics, especially from the ions. For particles containing water-insoluble linear alkanes, separate hydrophobic and hydrophilic domains are predicted to develop. The surface partitioning of organics is enhanced as the humidity increases. The presence of organics in the interior of the nanoparticle increases as their overall mass fraction in the nanoparticle increases, but this also depends on the humidity conditions. Apart from the organics–inorganics and hydrophobics–hydrophilics separation, our simulations predict a third type of separation (layering) between CPA and MBTCA molecules under certain conditions.

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Karadima, Katerina S. / Mavrantzas, Vlasis G. / Pandis, Spyros N.: Insights into the morphology of multicomponent organic and inorganic aerosols from molecular dynamics simulations. 2019. Copernicus Publications.

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Rechteinhaber: Katerina S. Karadima et al.

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