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We use a laboratory approach for the quantification of the water uptake by particles with varying amounts of sulfates to simulate the aging of fossil fuel combustion particles in the atmosphere. Diesel fuel and aviation kerosene laboratory-made soots are chosen as representative of the hydrophobic fraction of diesel and aircraft engine-emitted particulates and commercial carbon blacks are used as surrogates for industry emissions. The transformation of soot hydration properties from hydrophobic, through hydrophilic, to hygroscopic is demonstrated based on the amount of water uptake by the laboratory-produced EC soot covered by sulfates as the amount of sulfate increases. The mechanism of water/soot interaction changes from an adsorption on active sites to a water film formation and to the dissolution of water into the water-soluble sulfate, while the amount of sulfate increases. Laboratory simulations show that coverage of EC soot by organics diminishes the effect of sulfuric acid deposition. We demonstrate that the surface chemical properties and the size of primary particles affect the amount of water taken up by the soot particles and their aging in the atmosphere.


O B Popovicheva, N M Persiantseva, E D Kireeva, T D Khokhlova, N K Shonija. Quantification of the hygroscopic effect of soot aging in the atmosphere: laboratory simulations. The journal of physical chemistry. A. 2011 Jan 27;115(3):298-306

PMID: 21186790

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