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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 18, issue 7 | Copyright
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 18, 5115-5127, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-18-5115-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 16 Apr 2018

Research article | 16 Apr 2018

Hygroscopic behavior of atmospheric aerosols containing nitrate salts and water-soluble organic acids

Bo Jing1, Zhen Wang1,2, Fang Tan1,2, Yucong Guo1, Shengrui Tong1, Weigang Wang1, Yunhong Zhang3, and Maofa Ge1,2,4 Bo Jing et al.
  • 1State Key Laboratory for Structural Chemistry of Unstable and Stable Species, CAS Research/Education Center for Excellence in Molecular Sciences, Institute of Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100190, P. R. China
  • 2University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, P. R. China
  • 3The Institute of Chemical Physics, School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Beijing Institute of Technology, Beijing 100081, P. R. China
  • 4Center for Excellence in Regional Atmospheric Environment, Institute of Urban Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xiamen 361021, P. R. China

Abstract. While nitrate salts have critical impacts on environmental effects of atmospheric aerosols, the effects of coexisting species on hygroscopicity of nitrate salts remain uncertain. The hygroscopic behaviors of nitrate salt aerosols (NH4NO3, NaNO3, Ca(NO3)2) and their internal mixtures with water-soluble organic acids were determined using a hygroscopicity tandem differential mobility analyzer (HTDMA). The nitrate saltorganic acid mixed aerosols exhibit varying phase behavior and hygroscopic growth depending upon the type of components in the particles. Whereas pure nitrate salt particles show continuous water uptake with increasing relative humidity (RH), the deliquescence transition is still observed for ammonium nitrate particles internally mixed with organic acids such as oxalic acid and succinic acid with a high deliquescence point. The hygroscopicity of submicron aerosols containing sodium nitrate and an organic acid is also characterized by continuous growth, indicating that sodium nitrate tends to exist in a liquid-like state under dry conditions. It is observed that in contrast to the pure components, the water uptake is hindered at low and moderate RH for calcium nitrate particles containing malonic acid or phthalic acid, suggesting the potential effects of mass transfer limitation in highly viscous mixed systems. Our findings improve fundamental understanding of the phase behavior and water uptake of nitrate-salt-containing aerosols in the atmospheric environment.

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The nitrate/organic acid mixed aerosols exhibit varying phase behavior and hygroscopic growth depending upon the type of components in the particles. Our results reveal that the coexisting organic acid has considerable impacts on the phase and morphology of nitrate particles in the low and medium RH range, which thus result in obvious enhancement or suppression of water uptake with increasing RH. This new information provided here has important implications for atmospheric chemistry.
The nitrate/organic acid mixed aerosols exhibit varying phase behavior and hygroscopic growth...
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