Effects of Sucrose on Phase Transitions of Organic/Inorganic Aerosols

Emily Jean E. Ott, Emma C. Tackman, Miriam Arak Freedman

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18 Scopus citations


Aerosol morphology influences the interactions of particles with light, water uptake, and heterogeneous chemistry. Through these mechanisms, morphology may be important to the role of aerosol particles on the climate system. A factor that impacts morphology is the diverse and complex mixture of organic compounds that make up the aerosol particles in the atmosphere. In this paper, we investigate the effect of sucrose on liquid-liquid phase separation. As the amount of sucrose is increased, the oxygen to carbon ratio (O:C) of the particles increases. We show that the morphology of the particle changes as O:C is increased with phase separation causing the particle to take on a textured appearance due to large or small inclusions, as opposed to a core-shell particle. As a result of the increased O:C ratio, the separation relative humidity (SRH) of the particles decreases and, in all cases, the SRH can be completely arrested with the addition of a sufficiently large concentration of sucrose. The quantity of sucrose required to arrest phase separation of the particles shows a direct correlation with the SRH of the system without sucrose. The identity of the salt also impacts the amount of sucrose required to arrest phase separation and is controlled more strongly by the identity of the anion. When the mixture contains an organic/inorganic combination that is strongly phase separating, phase separation is observed at an O:C of 0.92 which is a higher O:C value than previously shown (O:C > 0.8). Sucrose is compared with several other high O:C compounds to confirm the influence of the average O:C ratio. In all, these effects could drastically influence aerosol processes in the climate system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)591-601
Number of pages11
JournalACS Earth and Space Chemistry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 16 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Space and Planetary Science


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