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Title: Enhanced growth rate of atmospheric particles from sulfuric acid
Abstract. In the present-day atmosphere, sulfuric acid is the mostimportant vapour for aerosol particle formation and initial growth. However,the growth rates of nanoparticles (<10 nm) from sulfuric acidremain poorly measured. Therefore, the effect of stabilizing bases, thecontribution of ions and the impact of attractive forces on molecularcollisions are under debate. Here, we present precise growth ratemeasurements of uncharged sulfuric acid particles from 1.8 to 10 nm, performedunder atmospheric conditions in the CERN (EuropeanOrganization for Nuclear Research) CLOUD chamber. Our results showthat the evaporation of sulfuric acid particles above 2 nm is negligible,and growth proceeds kinetically even at low ammonia concentrations. Theexperimental growth rates exceed the hard-sphere kinetic limit for thecondensation of sulfuric acid. We demonstrate that this results fromvan der Waals forces between the vapour molecules and particles anddisentangle it from charge–dipole interactions. The magnitude of theenhancement depends on the assumed particle hydration and collisionkinetics but is increasingly important at smaller sizes, resulting in asteep rise in the observed growth rates with decreasing size. Including theexperimental results in a global model, we find that the enhanced growth rate ofsulfuric acid particles increases the predicted particle number concentrationsin the upper free troposphere by more than 50 %.
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Award ID(s):
1801329 1801280 1649147 1801897 1801574
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
7359 to 7372
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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