Cooling enhancement of aerosol particles due to surfactant precipitation

Melinda R. Beaver, Miriam A. Freedman, Christa A. Hasenkopf, Margaret A. Tolbert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Light extinction by particles in Earth's atmosphere is strongly dependent on the particle size, chemical composition, and ability to take up water. In this work, we have measured the optical growth factors, fRHext(RH, dry), for complex particles composed of an inorganic salt, sodium nitrate, and an anionic surfactant, sodium dodecyl sulfate. In contrast with previous studies using soluble and slightly soluble organic compounds, optical growth in excess to that expected based on the volume weighted water uptake of the individual components is observed. We explored the relationship between optical growth and concentration of surfactant by investigating the role of particle density, the effect of a surfactant monolayer, and increased light extinction by surfactant aggregates and precipitates. For our experimental conditions, it is likely that surfactant precipitates are responsible for the observed increase in light scattering. The contribution of surfactant precipitates to light scattering of aerosol particles has not been previously explored and has significant implications for characterizing the aerosol direct effect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7070-7076
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry A
Issue number26
StatePublished - Jul 8 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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