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© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 13 Aug 2019

Submitted as: research article | 13 Aug 2019

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

A predictive group-contribution model for the viscosity of aqueous organic aerosol

Natalie R. Gervasi1, David O. Topping2, and Andreas Zuend1 Natalie R. Gervasi et al.
  • 1Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, H3A 0B9, Canada
  • 2School of Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental Science, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL, UK

Abstract. The viscosity of primary and secondary organic aerosol (SOA) has important implications for the processing of aqueous organic aerosol phases in the atmosphere, their involvement in climate forcing, and transboundary pollution. Here we introduce a new thermodynamics-based group-contribution model, which is capable of accurately predicting the dynamic viscosity of a mixture over several orders of magnitude (~ 10−3 to > 1012 Pa s) as a function of temperature and mixture composition, accounting for the effect of relative humidity on aerosol water content. The mixture viscosity modelling framework builds on the thermodynamic activity coefficient model AIOMFAC (Aerosol Inorganic–Organic Mixtures Functional groups Activity Coefficients) for predictions of liquid mixture non-ideality, including liquid–liquid phase separation, and the calorimetric glass transition temperature model by DeRieux et al. (2018) for pure-component viscosity values of organic components. Comparing this new model with simplified modelling approaches reveals that the group-contribution method is the most accurate in predicting mixture viscosity, although accurate pure-component viscosity predictions (and associated experimental data) are key and one of the main sources of uncertainties in current models, including the model presented here. Nonetheless, we find excellent agreement between the viscosity predictions and measurements for systems in which mixture constituents have a molar mass below 350 g mol−1. As such, we demonstrate the validity of the model in quantifying mixture viscosity for aqueous binary mixtures (glycerol, citric acid, sucrose, and trehalose), aqueous multicomponent mixtures (citric acid + sucrose and a mixture of nine dicarboxylic acids), and aqueous SOA surrogate mixtures derived from the oxidation of α-pinene, toluene, or isoprene. We also use the model to assess the expected change in SOA particle viscosity during idealized adiabatic air parcel transport from the surface to higher altitudes within the troposphere. This work demonstrates the capability and flexibility of our model in predicting the viscosity for organic mixtures of varying degrees of complexity and its applicability for modelling SOA viscosity over a wide range of temperatures and relative humidities.

Natalie R. Gervasi et al.
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Natalie R. Gervasi et al.
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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Organic aerosols have been shown to exist often in a semi-solid or amorphous, glassy state. Highly viscous particles behave differently than their well-mixed, liquid analogues with consequences for a variety of aerosol processes. Here, we introduce a new predictive mixture viscosity model called AIOMFAC-VISC. It enables predicting the viscosity of aqueous organic mixtures as a function of temperature and chemical composition covering the full range of liquid, semi-solid, and glassy states.
Organic aerosols have been shown to exist often in a semi-solid or amorphous, glassy state....