Laboratory studies of particle nucleation: Initial results for H2SO4, H2O, and NH3 vapors

S. M. Ball, D. R. Hanson, F. L. Eisele, Peter H McMurry

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Particle formation in the binary H2SO4-H2O vapor system was studied at 295 K in a series of experiments employing a flow reactor. The concentration of H2SO4 was detected by chemical ionization mass spectrometry, and an ultrafine particle condensation nucleus counter was used to count the newly nucleated particles. Results yield a particle formation rate that is approximately proportional to [H2SO4] raised to the eighth power and to [H2O] raised to the fifth power. The power dependencies measured here are significantly different from those determined in previous experimental work, and furthermore, the water dependence is markedly different from that predicted from current theories. The effect of adding ammonia vapor to the binary system was investigated; concentrations of NH3 in the many tens of parts per trillion by volume range were observed to promote dramatically the rate of particle nucleation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23709-23718
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Issue numberD19
StatePublished - Jan 1 1999


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