Observations on the formation, growth and chemical composition of aerosols in an urban environment

Crilley, Leigh R., Jayaratne, Rohan, Ayoko, Godwin A., Miljevic, Branka, Ristovski, Zoran, & Morawska, Lidia (2014) Observations on the formation, growth and chemical composition of aerosols in an urban environment. Environmental Science and Technology, 48(12), pp. 6588-6596.

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The charge and chemical composition of ambient particles in an urban environment were determined using a Neutral Particle and Air Ion Spectrometer and an Aerodyne compact Time-Of-Flight Aerosol Mass Spectrometer. Particle formation and growth events were observed on 20 of the 36 days of sampling, with eight of these events classified as strong. During these events, peaks in the concentration of intermediate and large ions were followed by peaks in the concentration of ammonium and sulphate, which were not observed in the organic fraction. Comparison of days with and without particle formation events revealed that ammonium and sulphate were the dominant species on particle formation days while high concentrations of biomass burning OA inhibited particle growth. Analyses of the degree of particle neutralisation lead us to conclude that an excess of ammonium enabled particle formation and growth. In addition, the large ion concentration increased sharply during particle growth, suggesting that during nucleation the neutral gaseous species ammonia and sulphuric acid react to form ammonium and sulphate ions. Overall, we conclude that the mechanism of particle formation and growth involved ammonia and sulphuric acid, with limited input from organics.

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ID Code: 73848
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: air quality, ambient particles, urban environment, particle formation
DOI: 10.1021/es5019509
ISSN: 1520-5851
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EARTH SCIENCES (040000) > ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES (040100) > Atmospheric Aerosols (040101)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES (050000) > ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE AND MANAGEMENT (050200) > Environmental Monitoring (050206)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENGINEERING (090000) > ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING (090700) > Environmental Engineering not elsewhere classified (090799)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Chemistry, Physics & Mechanical Engineering
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 American Chemical Society
Copyright Statement: This document is the Accepted Manuscript version of a Published Work that appeared in final form in Environmental Science and Technology, copyright © American Chemical Society after peer review and technical editing by the publisher. To access the final edited and published work see http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es5019509
Deposited On: 13 Jul 2014 23:25
Last Modified: 26 May 2015 16:41

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