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Succinic acid in aqueous solution: connecting microscopic surface composition and macroscopic surface tension
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Applied Environmental Science (ITM).
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Applied Environmental Science (ITM).
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2014 (English)In: Physical Chemistry, Chemical Physics - PCCP, ISSN 1463-9076, E-ISSN 1463-9084, Vol. 16, no 39, p. 21486-21495Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The water vapor interface of aqueous solutions of succinic acid, where pH values and bulk concentrations were varied, has been studied using surface sensitive X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. It was found that succinic acid has a considerably higher propensity to reside in the aqueous surface region than its deprotonated form, which is effectively depleted from the surface due to the two strongly hydrated carboxylate groups. From both XPS experiments and MD simulations a strongly increased concentration of the acid form in the surface region compared to the bulk concentration was found and quantified. Detailed analysis of the surface of succinic acid solutions at different bulk concentrations led to the conclusion that succinic acid saturates the aqueous surface at high bulk concentrations. With the aid of MD simulations the thickness of the surface layer could be estimated, which enabled the quantification of surface concentration of succinic acid as a multiple of the known bulk concentration. The obtained enrichment factors were successfully used to model the surface tension of these binary aqueous solutions using two different models that account for the surface enrichment. This underlines the close correlation of increased concentration at the surface relative to the bulk and reduced surface tension of aqueous solutions of succinic acid. The results of this study shed light on the microscopic origin of surface tension, a macroscopic property. Furthermore, the impact of the results from this study on atmospheric modeling is discussed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 16, no 39, p. 21486-21495
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Applied Environmental Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-109265DOI: 10.1039/c4cp02776kISI: 000343072900050OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-109265DiVA, id: diva2:765153
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AuthorCount:8;

Available from: 2014-11-21 Created: 2014-11-17 Last updated: 2018-02-12Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Investigating parameters governing liquid-phase cloud activation of atmospheric particles
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Investigating parameters governing liquid-phase cloud activation of atmospheric particles
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Aerosol-cloud interactions are one of the main sources of uncertainties in modeling and predicting the Earth’s climate. To overcome this uncertainty, we need to improve the understanding about the processes and parameters defining how aerosol particles turn into cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) or ice nuclei (IN) to produce cloud droplets or ice crystals. The focus of this dissertation is on liquid phase cloud droplets. The thesis investigates the effect of water solubility and surface tension on the CCN activity of atmospheric aerosol particles. These parameters are among the key properties defining how an aerosol particle can turn into a cloud droplet. The main goals of this thesis are to investigate 1) the CCN activity of aerosol particles containing both water soluble and insoluble substances and 2) the contribution of molecular-scale surface structure to the surface tension and CCN activity of atmospherically relevant aqueous mixtures.

In the first part of this thesis, the CCN activity of water-insoluble aerosol constituents coated by water-soluble or sparingly soluble species was investigated. The results showed that the CCN activity of the insoluble silica and black carbon particles, with sizes between 100 and 300 nm, increased with the amount of the coating on the insoluble cores and at thick enough coating approached the CCN activity of the soluble species. Moreover, controlled dry coating of the insoluble BC cores yielded a size-independent distribution of the coating material on the insoluble cores, which was not achieved by wet coating of the silica particles. The results also confirmed that by knowing the fraction of soluble material (coating thicknesses), the existing theories gave a reasonable estimate of the CCN activity for the mixed soluble-insoluble particles. Finally, the results highlight the need for including the impacts of co-emitted or later condensed compounds in estimates of the climate impacts of atmospheric insoluble aerosol species.

In the second part of the thesis, surface propensity of succinic acid, pure or mixed with soluble inorganic salts in the aqueous droplets, were quantified via molecular-level surface composition measurement by X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS). The XPS and molecular dynamic (MD) simulations of succinic acid aqueous solutions showed strong enrichment of the succinic acid at the surface of the liquid droplets compared to the bulk solution. This effect was more pronounced in the presence of the highly soluble inorganic salts like NaCl and (NH4)2SO4 in the system. The modeled surface tension of the pure organic or mixture of organic and inorganic substances, using surface enrichment factors derived from the XPS experiments were in good agreement with the experimental surface tension data. This demonstrates the high potential of XPS for direct measurements of the surface composition of atmospherically relevant aqueous mixtures. The results suggest that for modeling the phase-state and water content of the atmospheric particles, the contribution by the surface layer needs to be considered, because aqueous droplet can contain larger amounts of organic compounds than the bulk solubility limit of the solutions. However, the effect of the aqueous surface composition on the CCN activation of particles consisting of the studied mixtures was estimated to be very small.

The results presented in this thesis provide new insights into the relationship between aerosol particle composition and cloud condensation nuclei activity. However, the effect of more realistic complex mixtures will require more research. The results showed that for modeling semi-volatile species, the partitioning between the gas and condensed phase needs to be considered. In addition, along with the liquid-phase cloud activation, the ice nucleation ability of the particles made of soluble and insoluble species requires to be further investigated.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Environmental Science and Analytical Chemistry, Stockholm University, 2018. p. 50
Keyword
CCN activation, surface tension, coated aerosols, black carbon
National Category
Climate Research Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Applied Environmental Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-152128 (URN)978-91-7797-105-4 (ISBN)978-91-7797-106-1 (ISBN)
Public defence
2018-03-15, De Geersalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 14, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
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Available from: 2018-02-20 Created: 2018-01-26 Last updated: 2018-02-12Bibliographically approved

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