The effects of organic species on the hygroscopic behaviors of inorganic aerosols

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2422-2428
Journal / PublicationEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2002
Externally publishedYes


Water-soluble organic compounds have recently received much attention because of their ability to absorb water and alter the hygroscopic properties of inorganic aerosols. The effects of glycerol, succinic acid, malonic acid, citric acid, and glutaric acid on the water cycles (water activities during particle evaporation and growth), crystallization relative humidities (CRH), and deliquescence relative humidities (DRH) of sodium chloride (NaCl) and ammonium sulfate (AS) were studied using an electrodynamic balance (EDB). The growth factors of these inorganic and organic mixtures were lower than those of the pure inorganic species. The presence of all these organics in the mixed particle reduce the water absorption of NaCl but enhance that of AS relative to that of the pure inorganic salts. Glycerol and succinic acid did not affect the deliquescence properties of NaCl and AS, although succinic acid increased the CRH of NaCl and AS. Malonic acid and citric acid, behaving as nondeliquescent species in single particle studies, caused NaCl and AS particles to absorb a significant amount of water before deliquescence. Glutaric acid caused NaCl and AS to deliquesce gradually, spanning a wide range of relative humidity. The ZSR model was found to be useful in predicting the water activity of the mixtures and the growth ratios. However, the detailed crystallization and deliquescence behaviors of the organic/inorganic mixtures cannot be easily predicted from the hygroscopic properties of the individual components.