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Heterogeneous freezing of single sulfuric acid solution droplets: laboratory experiments utilizing an acoustic levitator

by M Ettner, S K Mitra, S Borrmann
Atmos. Chem. Phys. ()


The heterogeneous freezing temperatures of single binary sulfuric acid solution droplets were measured in dependency of acid concentration down to temperatures as low as -50°C. In order to avoid influence of supporting substrates on the freezing characteristics, a new technique has been developed to suspend the droplet by means of an acoustic levitator. The droplets contained immersed particles of graphite, kaolin or montmorillonite in order to study the influence of the presence of such contamination on the freezing temperature. The radii of the suspended droplets spanned the range between 0.4 and 1.1mm and the concentration of the sulfuric acid solution varied between 5 and 14 weight percent. The presence of the particles in the solution raises the freezing temperature with respect to homogeneous freezing of these solution droplets. The pure solution droplets can be supercooled up to 40 degrees below the ice-acid solution thermodynamic equilibrium curve. Depending on the concentration of sulfuric acid and the nature of the impurity the polluted droplets froze between -11°C and -35°C. The new experimental set-up, combining a deep freezer with a movable ultrasonic levitator and suitable optics, proved to be a useful approach for such investigations on individual droplets.

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