Hygroscopic behavior of atmospheric aerosols containing nitrate salts and water-soluble organic acids
Abstract. While nitrate salts have critical impacts on environmental effects of atmospheric aerosols, the effects of coexisting species on hygroscopicity of nitrate salts remain uncertain. The hygroscopic behaviors of nitrate salt aerosols (NH4NO3, NaNO3, Ca(NO3)2) and their internal mixtures with water-soluble organic acids were determined using a hygroscopicity tandem differential mobility analyzer (HTDMA). The nitrate salt ∕ organic acid mixed aerosols exhibit varying phase behavior and hygroscopic growth depending upon the type of components in the particles. Whereas pure nitrate salt particles show continuous water uptake with increasing relative humidity (RH), the deliquescence transition is still observed for ammonium nitrate particles internally mixed with organic acids such as oxalic acid and succinic acid with a high deliquescence point. The hygroscopicity of submicron aerosols containing sodium nitrate and an organic acid is also characterized by continuous growth, indicating that sodium nitrate tends to exist in a liquid-like state under dry conditions. It is observed that in contrast to the pure components, the water uptake is hindered at low and moderate RH for calcium nitrate particles containing malonic acid or phthalic acid, suggesting the potential effects of mass transfer limitation in highly viscous mixed systems. Our findings improve fundamental understanding of the phase behavior and water uptake of nitrate-salt-containing aerosols in the atmospheric environment.