Articles | Volume 12, issue 4
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 12, 2205–2214, 2012
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-12-2205-2012

Special issue: The CERN CLOUD experiment (ACP/AMT inter-journal SI)

Atmos. Chem. Phys., 12, 2205–2214, 2012
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-12-2205-2012

Research article 29 Feb 2012

Research article | 29 Feb 2012

Numerical simulations of mixing conditions and aerosol dynamics in the CERN CLOUD chamber

J. Voigtländer1, J. Duplissy2,3, L. Rondo4, A. Kürten4, and F. Stratmann1 J. Voigtländer et al.
  • 1Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research, Leipzig, Germany
  • 2CERN, PH Department, Geneva, Switzerland
  • 3Department of Physics, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 64, 00014 Helsinki, Finland
  • 4Institute for Atmospheric and Environmental Science, Goethe-University, Frankfurt/Main, Germany

Abstract. To study the effect of galactic cosmic rays on aerosols and clouds, the Cosmics Leaving OUtdoor Droplets (CLOUD) project was established. Experiments are carried out at a 26.1 m3 tank at CERN (Switzerland). In the experiments, the effect of ionizing radiation on H2SO4 particle formation and growth is investigated. To evaluate the experimental configuration, the experiment was simulated using a coupled multidimensional computational fluid dynamics (CFD) – particle model. In the model the coupled fields of gas/vapor species, temperature, flow velocity and particle properties were computed to investigate mixing state and mixing times of the CLOUD tank's contents. Simulation results show that a 1-fan configuration, as used in first experiments, may not be sufficient to ensure a homogeneously mixed chamber. To mix the tank properly, two fans and sufficiently high fan speeds are necessary. The 1/e response times for instantaneous changes of wall temperature and saturation ratio were found to be in the order of few minutes. Particle nucleation and growth was also simulated and particle number size distribution properties of the freshly nucleated particles (particle number, mean size, standard deviation of the assumed log-normal distribution) were found to be distributed over the tank's volume similar to the gas species.

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