Helsingin yliopisto


Helsingin yliopiston verkkojulkaisut

University of Helsinki, Helsinki 2006

Experiments on homogeneous nucleation and physicochemical properties related to atmospheric new particle formation

Antti-Pekka Hyvärinen

Doctoral dissertation, August 2006.
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Sciences, Division of Atmospheric Sciences and Finnish Meteorological Institute.

Aerosol particles play a role in the earth ecosystem and affect human health. A significant pathway of producing aerosol particles in the atmosphere is new particle formation, where condensable vapours nucleate and these newly formed clusters grow by condensation and coagulation. However, this phenomenon is still not fully understood. This thesis brings an insight to new particle formation from an experimental point of view. Laboratory experiments were conducted both on the nucleation process and physicochemical properties related to new particle formation.

Nucleation rate measurements are used to test nucleation theories. These theories, in turn, are used to predict nucleation rates in atmospheric conditions. However, the nucleation rate measurements have proven quite difficult to conduct, as different devices can yield nucleation rates with differences of several orders of magnitude for the same substances. In this thesis, work has been done to have a greater understanding in nucleation measurements, especially those conducted in a laminar flow diffusion chamber. Systematic studies of nucleation were also made for future verification of nucleation theories.

Surface tensions and densities of substances related to atmospheric new particle formation were measured. Ternary sulphuric acid + ammonia + water is a proposed candidate to participate in atmospheric nucleation. Surface tensions of an alternative candidate to nucleate in boreal forest areas, sulphuric acid + dimethylamine + water, were also measured. Binary compounds, consisting of organic acids + water are possible candidates to participate in the early growth of freshly nucleated particles. All the measured surface tensions and densities were fitted with equations, thermodynamically consistent if possible, to be easily applied to atmospheric model calculations of nucleation and subsequent evolution of particle size.

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Last updated 08.08.2006

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