We have compared the hydration behavior of single carbon particles that have been treated by exposure to gaseous H2SO4 with that of untreated particles. Untreated carbon particles did not hydrate as the relative humidity varied from 0 to 80% at 23°C. In contrast, treated particles hydrated under subsaturation conditions; mass increases of up to 30% were observed. The mass increase is consistent with sulfuric acid equilibration with the ambient relative humidity in the presence of inert carbon. For the samples studied, the average amount of adsorbed acid was 14% ± 6% by weight, which corresponds to a surface coverage of ∼0.1 monolayer. The mass fraction of surface‐adsorbed acid is comparable to the soluble mass fraction observed by Whitefield et al. (1993) in jet aircraft engine aerosols. Estimates indicate this mass fraction corresponds to 0.1% of the available SO2 exiting an aircraft engine ending up as H2SO4 on the carbon aerosol. If this heterogeneous process occurs early enough in the exhaust plume, it may compete with homogeneous nucleation as a mechanism for producing sulfuric acid rich aerosols.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)