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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers | Copyright
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2017-269
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 20 Jun 2017

Research article | 20 Jun 2017

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It has been under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP). A final paper in ACP is not foreseen.

A 3D particle Monte Carlo approach to studying nucleation

Christoph Köhn, Martin Bødker Enghoff, and Henrik Svensmark Christoph Köhn et al.
  • Technical University of Denmark, National Space Institute (DTU Space), Elektrovej 328, 2800 Kgs Lyngby, Denmark

Abstract. The nucleation of sulphuric acid molecules plays a key role in the formation of aerosols. We here present a three dimensional particle Monte Carlo model to study the growth of sulphuric acid clusters as well as its dependence on the ambient temperature and the initial particle density.We initiate a swarm of sulphuric acid molecules with a size of 0.15nm with densities between 107 and 108cm−3 at temperatures of 200 and 300K. After every time step, we update the position and velocity of particles as a function of size-dependent diffusion coefficients. If two particles encounter, we merge them and add their volumes and masses. Inversely, we check after every time step whether a polymer evaporates liberating a molecule.We present the spatial distribution as well as the size distribution calculated from individual clusters. We also calculate the nucleation rate of clusters with a radius of 0.85nm as a function of time, initial particle density and temperature. For 200K, the nucleation rate increases as a function of time; for 300K we observe an interplay between clustering and evaporation and thus the oscillation of the nucleation rate around the mean nucleation rate. The nucleation rates obtained from the presented model agree well with experimentally obtained values which serves as a benchmark of our code. In contrast to previous nucleation models, we here present for the first time a code capable of tracing individual particles and thus of capturing the physics related to the discrete nature of particles.

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Christoph Köhn et al.
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Christoph Köhn et al.
Christoph Köhn et al.
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