Articles | Volume 3, issue 3
11 May 2010
 | 11 May 2010

A model of aerosol evaporation kinetics in a thermodenuder

C. D. Cappa

Abstract. Aerosol thermodenuders provide a measure of particle volatility. The information provided by a thermodenuder is fundamentally related to the kinetics of evaporation and condensation within the device. Here, a time-dependent, multi-component model of particle and gas-phase mass transfer in a thermodenuder is described. This model empirically accounts for the temperature profile along the length of a typical thermodenuder and distinguishes between the influence of the heating section and of the adsorbent denuder section. It is shown that "semi-volatile" aerosol is particularly sensitive to the inclusion of an adsorbent denuder in the model. As expected, the mass loss from evaporation of particles as they pass through the thermodenuder is directly related to the compound vapor pressure, although the assumptions regarding the enthalpy of vaporization are shown to also have a large influence on the overall calculated mass thermograms. The model has been validated by comparison with previously measured mass thermograms for single-component aerosols and is shown to provide reasonable semi-quantitative agreement. The model that has been developed here can be used to provide quantitative understanding of aerosol volatility measurements of single and multi-component aerosol made using thermodenuders that include adsorbent denuder sections.