Articles | Volume 10, issue 20
18 Oct 2010
 | 18 Oct 2010

Sub-10 nm particle growth by vapor condensation – effects of vapor molecule size and particle thermal speed

T. Nieminen, K. E. J. Lehtinen, and M. Kulmala

Abstract. The growth of freshly formed nanoparticles has been investigated. A new analytical expression based on a recently developed exact solution for the condensational growth rate has been derived. Based on the new growth rate, a new approximate but accurate analytical expression for growth time has been derived. The expression includes transition regime effects on growth, molecule size effects on the collision cross section and particle thermal speed effects on the relative collisional speeds – the last two of which are typically neglected, but may have significant effects when dealing with the growth of freshly nucleated particles. To demonstrate the use of the derived expressions, the contribution of sulphuric acid and organic compounds on sub 3 nm and sub 10 nm particle growth rates has been studied. For sulphuric acid also the effect of hydration as function of relative humidity has been taken into account. According to the new expression the sulphuric acid concentration needed for 1 nm/h growth in sub 3 nm range is ca. 1.5×107 cm−3, which is a factor of 1.5 smaller than values typically used in aerosol physics based on standard model in kinetic regime.

Final-revised paper