Experimental phase diagram and its temporal evolution for submicron 2-methylglutaric acid and ammonium sulfate aerosol particles

Qishen Huang, Kiran R. Pitta, Kayla Constantini, Emily Jean E. Ott, Andreas Zuend, Miriam Arak Freedman

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Liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS) in aerosol particles is important for the climate system due to its potential to impact heterogeneous chemistry, cloud condensation nuclei, and new particle growth. Our group and others have shown a lower separation relative humidity for submicron particles, but whether the suppression is due to thermodynamics or kinetics is unclear. Herein, we characterize the experimental LLPS phase diagram of submicron 2-methylglutaric acid and ammonium sulfate aerosol particles and compare it to that of supermicron-sized particles. Surprisingly, as the equilibration time of submicron-sized aerosol particles was increased from 20 min to 60 min, the experimental phase diagram converges with the results for supermicron-sized particles. Our findings indicate that nucleation kinetics are responsible for the observed lower separation relative humidities in submicron aerosol particles. Therefore, experiments and models that investigate atmospheric processes of organic aerosol particles may need to consider the temporal evolution of aerosol LLPS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPhysical Chemistry Chemical Physics
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry

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