Summer/winter variability of the surfactants in aerosols from Grenoble, France
2012 (English)In: Atmospheric Environment, ISSN 1352-2310, Vol. 47, 413-420 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Many atmospheric aerosols seem to contain strong organic surfactants likely to enhance their cloud-forming properties. Yet, few techniques allow for the identification and characterization of these compounds. Recently, we introduced a double extraction method to isolate the surfactant fraction of atmospheric aerosol samples, and evidenced their very low surface tension (<= 30 mN m(-1)). In this work, this analytical procedure was further optimized. In addition to an optimized extraction and a reduction of the analytical time, the improved method led to a high reproducibility in the surface tension curves obtained (shapes and minimal values), illustrated by the low uncertainties on the values, +/- 10% or less. The improved method was applied to PM10 aerosols from the urban area of Grenoble, France collected from June 2009 to January 2010. Significant variability was observed between the samples. The minimum surface tension obtained from the summer samples was systematically lower (30 mN m(-1)) than that of the winter samples (35-45 mN m(-1)). Sharp transitions in the curves together with the very low surface tensions suggested that the dominating surfactants in the summer samples were biosurfactants, which would be consistent with the high biogenic activity in that season. One group of samples from the winter also displayed sharp transitions, which, together with the slightly higher surface tension, suggested the presence of weaker, possibly man-made, surfactants. A second group of curves from the winter did not display any clear transition but were similar to those of macromolecular surfactants such as polysaccharides or humic substances from wood burning. These surfactants are thus likely to originate from wood burning, the dominating source for aerosols in Grenoble in winter. These observations thus confirm the presence of surfactants from combustion processes in urban aerosols reported by other groups and illustrates the ability of our method to distinguish between different types of surfactants in atmospheric samples.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 47, 413-420 p.
Aerosols-cloud interactions, CCN properties, Organic compounds, Surfactants
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-76974DOI: 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2011.10.040ISI: 000301157700047OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-76974DiVA: diva2:533641