Hygroscopic behavior of multicomponent organic aerosols and their internal mixtures with ammonium sulfate
Abstract. Water-soluble organic compounds (WSOCs) are important components of organics in the atmospheric fine particulate matter. Although WSOCs play an important role in the hygroscopicity of aerosols, knowledge on the water uptake behavior of internally mixed WSOC aerosols remains limited. Here, the hygroscopic properties of single components such as levoglucosan, oxalic acid, malonic acid, succinic acid, phthalic acid, and multicomponent WSOC aerosols mainly involving oxalic acid are investigated with the hygroscopicity tandem differential mobility analyzer (HTDMA). The coexisting hygroscopic species including levoglucosan, malonic acid, and phthalic acid have a strong influence on the hygroscopic growth and phase behavior of oxalic acid, even suppressing its crystallization completely during the drying process. The phase behaviors of oxalic acid/levoglucosan mixed particles are confirmed by infrared spectra. The discrepancies between measured growth factors and predictions from Extended Aerosol Inorganics Model (E-AIM) with the Universal Quasi-Chemical Functional Group Activity Coefficient (UNIFAC) method and Zdanovskii–Stokes–Robinson (ZSR) approach increase at medium and high relative humidity (RH) assuming oxalic acid in a crystalline solid state. For the internal mixture of oxalic acid with levoglucosan or succinic acid, there is enhanced water uptake at high RH compared to the model predictions based on reasonable oxalic acid phase assumption. Organic mixture has more complex effects on the hygroscopicity of ammonium sulfate than single species. Although hygroscopic species such as levoglucosan account for a small fraction in the multicomponent aerosols, they may still strongly influence the hygroscopic behavior of ammonium sulfate by changing the phase state of oxalic acid which plays the role of "intermediate" species. Considering the abundance of oxalic acid in the atmospheric aerosols, its mixtures with hygroscopic species may significantly promote water uptake under high RH conditions and thus affect the cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) activity, optical properties, and chemical reactivity of atmospheric particles.