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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
01 Nov 2016
Review status
A revision of this discussion paper was accepted for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP) and is expected to appear here in due course.
Hygroscopic Properties of Aminium Sulphate Aerosols
Grazia Rovelli1,2, Rachael E. H. Miles1, Jonathan P. Reid1, and Simon L. Clegg3 1School of Chemistry, University of Bristol, Bristol, BS8 1TS, UK
2Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Milano-Bicocca, 20124 Milan, Italy
3School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK
Abstract. Alkylaminium sulphates originate from the neutralisation reaction between short-chained amines and sulphuric acid and have been detected in atmospheric aerosol particles. Their physicochemical behaviour is less well characterised than their inorganic equivalent, ammonium sulphate, even though they play a role in atmospheric processes such as the nucleation and growth of new particles and cloud droplet formation. In this work, a comparative evaporation kinetics experimental technique using a cylindrical electrodynamic balance is applied to determine the hygroscopic properties of six short-chained alkylaminium sulphates, specifically mono-, di- and tri-methylaminium sulphate and mono-, di- and tri-ethyl aminium sulphate. This approach allows the retrieval of a water activity dependent growth curve in less than 10 s, avoiding the uncertainties that can arise from the volatilisation of semi-volatile components. Measurements are made on particles > 5 micrometres in radius, avoiding the need to correct equilibrium measurements for droplet surface curvature with assumed values of the droplet surface tension. Variations in equilibrium solution droplet composition with varying water activity are reported over the range 0.5 to > 0.98, along with accurate parameterisations of solution density and refractive index. The uncertainties in water activities associated with the hygroscopicity measurements are typically < ±0.2 % at water activities > 0.9 and ∼ ±1 % below 0.9, with maximum uncertainties in diameter growth factors of ±0.7 %. Comparison with previously reported measurements show deviation across the whole water activity range.

Citation: Rovelli, G., Miles, R. E. H., Reid, J. P., and Clegg, S. L.: Hygroscopic Properties of Aminium Sulphate Aerosols, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., doi:10.5194/acp-2016-959, in review, 2016.
Grazia Rovelli et al.
Grazia Rovelli et al.


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Short summary
The response of airborne particles to relative humidity (RH) in the atmosphere, referred to as their hygroscopicity, is a key property that determines their water content. The hygroscopicity depends on the chemical species that make up the particle. Here, we investigate the growth in particle size and composition that occurs with increasing RH for particles containing a series of amine compounds and sulfuric acid, typical atmospheric components, providing a comprehensive and accurate data set.
The response of airborne particles to relative humidity (RH) in the atmosphere, referred to as...