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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 13, issue 22 | Copyright
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 13, 11465-11471, 2013
© Author(s) 2013. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 26 Nov 2013

Research article | 26 Nov 2013

Influence of aerosol lifetime on the interpretation of nucleation experiments with respect to the first nucleation theorem

S. Ehrhart and J. Curtius S. Ehrhart and J. Curtius
  • Institute for Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, Goethe University of Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Abstract. The SAWNUC (Sulphuric Acid Water NUCleation) microphysical aerosol nucleation model is used to study the effect of reactor walls on the interpretation of nucleation experiments with respect to nucleation theory. This work shows that loss processes, such as wall losses, influence the interpretation of nucleation experiments, especially at low growth rates and short lifetimes of freshly nucleated particles. In these cases the power dependency of the formation rates, determined at a certain particle size, with respect to H2SO4 does not correspond to the approximate number of H2SO4 molecules in the critical cluster as expected by the first nucleation theorem. Observed ∂log(J)/∂log([H2SO4]) therefore can vary widely for identical nucleation conditions but different sink terms.

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