Cloud condensation nucleus (CCN) behavior of organic aerosol particles generated by atomization of water and methanol solutions
1Department of Chemical Engineering, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USA
2Department of Chemistry, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USA
3School of Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, The University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
4Departments of Chemical Engineering and Environmental Science and Engineering, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USA
Abstract. Cloud condensation nucleus (CCN) experiments were carried out for malonic acid, succinic acid, oxalacetic acid, DL-malic acid, glutaric acid, DL-glutamic acid monohydrate, and adipic acid, using both water and methanol as atomization solvents, at three operating supersaturations (0.11%, 0.21%, and 0.32%) in the Caltech three-column CCN instrument (CCNC3). Predictions of CCN behavior for five of these compounds were made using the Aerosol Diameter Dependent Equilibrium Model (ADDEM). The experiments presented here expose important considerations associated with the laboratory measurement of the CCN behavior of organic compounds. Choice of atomization solvent results in significant differences in CCN activation for some of the compounds studied, which could result from residual solvent, particle morphology differences, and chemical reactions between the particle and gas phases. Also, significant changes in aerosol size distribution occurred after classification in a differential mobility analyzer (DMA) for malonic acid and glutaric acid, preventing confident interpretation of experimental data for these two compounds. Filter analysis of adipic acid atomized from methanol solution indicates that gas-particle phase reactions may have taken place after atomization and before methanol was removed from the sample gas stream. Careful consideration of these experimental issues is necessary for successful design and interpretation of laboratory CCN measurements.