Journal article

Internal mixing of the organic aerosol by gas phase diffusion of semivolatile organic compounds

Marcolli C, Luo B, Peter T, Wienhold F ...see all

Atmos. Chem. Physics, vol. 4 (2004) pp. 2593-2599

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This paper shows that most of the so far identified constituents of
the tropospheric organic particulate matter belong to a semivolatile
fraction for which gas phase diffusion in the lower troposphere is
sufficiently fast to establish thermodynamic equilibrium between
aerosol particles. For the first time analytical expressions for
this process are derived. Inspection of vapor pressure data of a
series of organic substances allows a rough estimate for which substances
this mixing process must be considered. As general benchmarks we
conclude that for typical aerosol radii between 0.1 and 1 mum this
mixing process is efficient at 25 degreesC for polar species with
molecular weights up to 200 and for non-polar species up to 320.
At - 10 degreesC, these values are shifted to 150 for polar and to
270 for non-polar substances. The extent of mixing of this semivolatile
fraction is governed by equilibrium thermodynamics, leading to a
selectively, though not completely, internally mixed aerosol. The
internal mixing leads to a systematic depression of melting and deliquescence
points of organic and mixed organic/inorganic aerosols, thus leading
to an aerosol population in the lower troposphere which is predominantly

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  • C Marcolli

  • B P Luo

  • T Peter

  • F G Wienhold

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