Articles | Volume 14, issue 20
Research article
29 Oct 2014
Research article |  | 29 Oct 2014

The effect of low solubility organic acids on the hygroscopicity of sodium halide aerosols

L. Miñambres, E. Méndez, M. N. Sánchez, F. Castaño, and F. J. Basterretxea

Abstract. In order to accurately assess the influence of fatty acids on the hygroscopic and other physicochemical properties of sea salt aerosols, hexanoic, octanoic or lauric acid together with sodium halide salts (NaCl, NaBr and NaI) have been chosen to be investigated in this study. The hygroscopic properties of sodium halide sub-micrometre particles covered with organic acids have been examined by Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy in an aerosol flow cell. Covered particles were generated by flowing atomized sodium halide particles (either dry or aqueous) through a heated oven containing the gaseous acid. The obtained results indicate that gaseous organic acids easily nucleate onto dry and aqueous sodium halide particles. On the other hand, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) images indicate that lauric acid coating on NaCl particles makes them to aggregate in small clusters. The hygroscopic behaviour of covered sodium halide particles in deliquescence mode shows different features with the exchange of the halide ion, whereas the organic surfactant has little effect in NaBr particles, NaCl and NaI covered particles experience appreciable shifts in their deliquescence relative humidities, with different trends observed for each of the acids studied. In efflorescence mode, the overall effect of the organic covering is to retard the loss of water in the particles. It has been observed that the presence of gaseous water in heterogeneously nucleated particles tends to displace the cover of hexanoic acid to energetically stabilize the system.

Final-revised paper