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Discussion papers | Copyright
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2018-684
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 03 Sep 2018

Research article | 03 Sep 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

Inversely modeling homogeneous H2SO4-H2O nucleation rate in exhaust-related conditions

Miska Olin1, Jenni Alanen1, Marja R. T. Palmroth2, Topi Rönkkö1, and Miikka Dal Maso1 Miska Olin et al.
  • 1Aerosol Physics, Laboratory of Physics, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Tampere University of Technology, P.O. Box 692, 33101 Tampere, Finland
  • 2Laboratory of Chemistry and Bioengineering, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Tampere University of Technology, P.O. Box 541, 33101 Tampere, Finland

Abstract. Homogeneous sulfuric acid-water nucleation rate in conditions related to vehicle exhaust was measured and modeled. The measurements were performed by evaporating pure sulfuric acid and water liquids and by diluting and cooling the sample vapor with a sampling system mimicking the dilution process occurring in a real-world driving situation. The nucleation rate inside the measurement system was modeled inversely using CFD (computational fluid dynamics) and the aerosol dynamics code, CFD-TUTMAM (Tampere University of Technology Modal Aerosol Model for CFD). The nucleation exponents for the concentrations of sulfuric acid and water and for the saturation vapor pressure of sulfuric acid were found to be 1.9±0.1, 0.50±0.05, and 0.75±0.05, respectively. With these exponents, nucleation rate can be expressed with a function of the concentrations of sulfuric acid and water and of temperature. Results imply that the nucleation process of volatile nanoparticles in real vehicle exhaust cannot be fully explained by sulfuric acid; instead, it is likely that other compounds, e.g., hydrocarbons, are involved as well. In general, the obtained nucleation rate function can be used to examine the nucleation mechanisms occurring in exhaust from different combustion sources (internal combustion engines, power plant boilers, etc.) or in the atmosphere and, furthermore, to improve air quality models.

Miska Olin et al.
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Short summary
The mechanism for new particle formation (NPF) in vehicle exhaust is currently unknown. This study focuses on determining the NPF rate in vehicle exhaust caused by sulfuric acid, which is the most promising candidate involved in the NPF process. The NPF rate function obtained in this study helps in examining the NPF mechanism in exhaust plumes and it can also be used to improve air quality models. The results also imply that the NPF process cannot be fully explained by sulfuric acid only.
The mechanism for new particle formation (NPF) in vehicle exhaust is currently unknown. This...
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