Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 4, 2781-2804, 2004
www.atmos-chem-phys-discuss.net/4/2781/2004/
doi:10.5194/acpd-4-2781-2004
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This discussion paper has been under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP). Please refer to the corresponding final paper in ACP.
The role of surfactants in Köhler theory reconsidered
R. Sorjamaa, T. Raatikainen, and A. Laaksonen
Department of Applied Physics, University of Kuopio, P.O. Box 1627, 70211 Kuopio, Finland

Abstract. Atmospheric aerosol particles typically consist of inorganic salts and organic material. The inorganic compounds as well as their hygroscopic properties are well defined, but the effect of organic compounds on cloud droplet activation is still poorly characterized. The focus of the present study is in the organic compounds that are surface active i.e. they concentrate on droplet surface and decrease droplet surface tension. Gibbsian surface thermodynamics were used to find out how partitioning in binary and ternary aqueous solutions affects the droplet surface tension and the droplet bulk concentration in droplets large enough to act as cloud condensation nuclei. Sodium dodecyl sulfate was used as a model compound together with sodium chloride to find out the effect the correct evaluation of surfactant partitioning has on the solute effect (Raoult effect). While the partitioning is known to lead to higher surface tension compared to a case in which partitioning is neglected, the present results show that the partitioning also alters the solute effect, and that the change is large enough to further increase the critical supersaturation and hence decrease the droplet activation. The fraction of surfactant partitioned to droplet surface increases with decreasing droplet size, which suggests that surfactants might enhance the activation of larger particles relatively more thus leading to less dense clouds. Cis-pinonic acid-ammonium sulfate aqueous solution was studied in order to relate the partitioning to more realistic atmospheric situation and to find out the combined effects of dissolution and partitioning behaviour. The results show that correct partitioning consideration alters the shape of the Köhler curve when compared to a situation in which the partitioning is neglected either completely or in the Raoult effect.

Citation: Sorjamaa, R., Raatikainen, T., and Laaksonen, A.: The role of surfactants in Köhler theory reconsidered, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 4, 2781-2804, doi:10.5194/acpd-4-2781-2004, 2004.
 
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