Articles | Volume 15, issue 9
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 15, 5305–5323, 2015
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 15, 5305–5323, 2015

Research article 13 May 2015

Research article | 13 May 2015

CFD modeling of a vehicle exhaust laboratory sampling system: sulfur-driven nucleation and growth in diluting diesel exhaust

M. Olin, T. Rönkkö, and M. Dal Maso M. Olin et al.
  • Aerosol Physics Laboratory, Department of Physics, Tampere University of Technology, P.O. Box 692, 33101 Tampere, Finland

Abstract. A new exhaust aerosol model CFD-TUTEAM (Tampere University of Technology Exhaust Aerosol Model for Computational Fluid Dynamics) was developed. It is based on modal aerosol dynamics modeling with log-normal assumption of particle distributions. The model has an Eulerian sub-model providing detailed spatial information within the computational domain and a computationally less expensive, but spatial-information-lacking, Lagrangian sub-model. Particle formation in a laboratory sampling system that includes a porous tube-type diluter and an aging chamber was modeled with CFD-TUTEAM. The simulation results imply that over 99% of new particles are formed in the aging chamber region because the nucleation rate remains at a high level in the aging chamber due to low dilution ratio and low nucleation exponents. The nucleation exponents for sulfuric acid in sulfuric-acid–water nucleation ranging from 0.25 to 1 appeared to fit best with measurement data, which are the same values as obtained from the slopes of the measured volatile nucleation mode number concentration vs. the measured raw exhaust sulfuric acid concentration. These nucleation exponents are very low compared to the nucleation exponents obtained from the classical nucleation theory of binary sulfuric-acid–water nucleation. The values of nucleation exponent lower than unity suggest that other compounds, such as hydrocarbons, might have a significant role in the nucleation process.

Short summary
This article presents a new model that simulates particle formation in vehicle exhaust. The model is used to examine particle dynamics, such as nucleation, inside a diesel exhaust laboratory sampling system. The results suggest lower slope of nucleation rate versus sulfuric acid concentration than previously found.
Final-revised paper