Significant restructuring and light absorption enhancement of black carbon particles by ammonium nitrate coating.

07:00 EST 19th February 2020 | BioPortfolio

Summary of "Significant restructuring and light absorption enhancement of black carbon particles by ammonium nitrate coating."

Field observations have suggested that particulate nitrate can promote the aging of black carbon (BC), yet the mechanisms of the aging process and its impacts on BC's light absorption are undetermined. Here we performed laboratory simulation of internal mixing of flame-generated BC aggregates with ammonium nitrate. Variations in particle size, mass, coating thickness, effective density, dynamic shape factor, and optical properties were determined online by a suite of instruments. With the development of coatings, the particle size initially decreased until reaching a coating thickness of ∼10 nm and then started increasing, accompanied by an increase in effective density and a decrease in dynamic shape factor, reflecting the transformation of BC particles from highly fractal to near-spherical morphology. This is partially attributable to the restructuring of BC cores to more compact forms. Exposing coated particles to elevated relative humidity (RH) led to additional BC morphology changes, even after drying. Particle light absorption and scattering were also amplified with ammonium nitrate coating, increasing with coating thickness and RH. For BC particles with a 17.8 nm coating, absorption and scattering were increased by 1.5- and 7.9-fold when cycled through 70% RH (5-70-5% RH), respectively. The irreversible restructuring of the BC core caused by condensation of ammonium nitrate and water altered both absorption and scattering, with a magnitude comparable to or even exceeding the effects of increased coating. Results show that ammonium nitrate is among the most efficient coating materials with respect to modifying BC morphology and optical properties compared with other inorganic and organic species investigated previously. Accordingly, mitigation of nitrate aerosols is necessary for the benefits of both air pollution control and reducing the impacts of BC on visibility impairment and radiative forcing on climate change. Our results also pointed out that the effect of BC core restructuring needs to be considered when evaluating BC's light absorption enhancement.


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This article was published in the following journal.

Name: Environmental pollution (Barking, Essex : 1987)
ISSN: 1873-6424
Pages: 114172


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