Articles | Volume 10, issue 3
Research article
30 Mar 2017
Research article |  | 30 Mar 2017

Tandem configuration of differential mobility and centrifugal particle mass analysers for investigating aerosol hygroscopic properties

Sergey S. Vlasenko, Hang Su, Ulrich Pöschl, Meinrat O. Andreae, and Eugene F. Mikhailov

Abstract. A tandem arrangement of Differential Mobility Analyser and Humidified Centrifugal Particle Mass Analyser (DMA-HCPMA) was developed to measure the deliquescence and efflorescence thresholds and the water uptake of submicron particles over the relative humidity (RH) range from 10 to 95 %. The hygroscopic growth curves obtained for ammonium sulfate and sodium chloride test aerosols are consistent with thermodynamic model predictions and literature data. The DMA-HCPMA system was applied to measure the hygroscopic properties of urban aerosol particles, and the kappa mass interaction model (KIM) was used to characterize and parameterize the concentration-dependent water uptake observed in the 50–95 % RH range. For DMA-selected 160 nm dry particles (modal mass of 3.5 fg), we obtained a volume-based hygroscopicity parameter, κv ≈  0.2, which is consistent with literature data for freshly emitted urban aerosols.

Overall, our results show that the DMA-HCPMA system can be used to measure size-resolved mass growth factors of atmospheric aerosol particles upon hydration and dehydration up to 95 % RH. Direct measurements of particle mass avoid the typical complications associated with the commonly used mobility-diameter-based HTDMA technique (mainly due to poorly defined or unknown morphology and density).

Short summary
The paper describes a new technique for measuring the hygroscopic properties of laboratory and ambient aerosols. The direct measurements of humidified particle mass allow avoiding complications that occur in the commonly used technique due to poorly defined particle morphology and density. Both test results and field measurements have shown that the system can be applied for aerosol size-resolved mass growth factor measurements in hydration and dehydration modes up to 95 % RH.