Articles | Volume 5, issue 12
01 Dec 2005
01 Dec 2005

On the effects of organic matter and sulphur-containing compounds on the CCN activation of combustion particles

A. Petzold, M. Gysel, X. Vancassel, R. Hitzenberger, H. Puxbaum, S. Vrochticky, E. Weingartner, U. Baltensperger, and P. Mirabel

Abstract. The European PartEmis project (Measurement and prediction of emissions of aerosols and gaseous precursors from gas turbine engines) was focussed on the characterisation and quantification of exhaust emissions from a gas turbine engine. The combustion aerosol characterisation included on-line measurements of mass and number concentration, size distribution, mixing state, thermal stability of internally mixed particles, hygroscopicity, cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) activation potential, and off-line analysis of chemical composition. Based on this extensive data set, the role of sulphuric acid coating and of the organic fraction of the combustion particles for the CCN activation was investigated. Modelling of CCN activation was conducted using microphysical and chemical properties obtained from the measurements as input data. Coating the combustion particles with water-soluble sulphuric acid, increases the potential CCN activation, or lowers the activation diameter, respectively. The adaptation of a Köhler model to the experimental data yielded coatings from 0.1 to 3 vol-% of water-soluble matter, which corresponds to an increase in the fraction of CCN-activated combustion particles from ≤10−4 to ≌10−2 at a water vapour saturation ratio Sw=1.006. Additional particle coating by coagulation of combustion particles and aqueous sulphuric acid particles formed by nucleation further reduces the CCN activation diameter. In contrast, particles containing a large fraction of non-volatile organic compounds grow significantly less at high relative humidity than particles with a lower content of non-volatile OC. The resulting reduction in the potential CCN activation with an increasing fraction of non-volatile OC becomes visible as a trend in the experimental data. While a coating of water-soluble sulphuric acid increases the potential CCN activation, or lowers the activation diameter, respectively, the non-volatile organic compounds, mainly found at lower combustion temperatures, can partially compensate this sulphuric acid-related enhancement of CCN activation of carbonaceous combustion aerosol particles.

Final-revised paper