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A case study of single hygroscopicity parameter and its link to the functional groups and phase transition for urban aerosols in Taipei City
- Hung, Hui-Ming, Hsu, Chia-Hung, Lin, Wei-Ting, Chen, Yu-Quan
- Atmospheric environment 2016 v.132 pp. 240-248
- absorbance, absorption, aerosols, ammonium sulfate, atmospheric chemistry, case studies, hygroscopicity, nitric acid, particle size, phase transition, reflectance, sodium, sodium nitrate, solutes
- The hygroscopicity, functional groups and phase transitions of urban aerosol particles in Taipei City were studied using a cloud condensation nuclei counter (CCNc) with a scanning mobility particle sizer (SMPS) and an attenuated total reflectance with infrared (ATR-IR) detection technique. With the assumption of larger particles being activated first, the derived single hygroscopicity parameter (κ) exhibited an increasing trend with particle size, i.e., from 0.022 ± 0.01 at 87 ± 10 nm to 0.13 ± 0.03 at 240 ± 20 nm. The collected size-selected particles were characterized using ATR-IR for the functional groups of alkyl, carbonyl, ammonium, sulfate and nitrate, which showed various size dependence patterns, linked to different formation mechanisms. The hygroscopic response based on the ratio (xW_solute) for sample film of absorption by the enhanced water-stretching peak to that by the selected solute showed a better consistency with pure ammonium sulfate for sub-micron size particles. Based on the derived ammonium sulfate volume fraction from IR analysis, the κ received from CCNc measurements was concluded mainly contributed by ammonium sulfate for sub-micrometer particles. The increasing trend of sodium nitrate absorbance at aerosol diameter ≥1 μm was due to a reaction of nitric acid with sea salt particles. The micrometer sized particles were apparent not only in a significantly higher xW_solute than pure sodium nitrate but also had a deliquescence RH of 69 ± 1%, similar to that of sodium nitrate-sodium chloride mixtures. Overall, the organic species in this study exhibited a low hygroscopicity with less than 0.036 of contribution for the overall κ, and the major hygroscopic material of urban aerosols consisted primarily of ammonium sulfate in the sub-micrometer particles and sodium nitrate with sea salt in the coarse particles.