Condensation Kinetics of Water on Amorphous Aerosol Particles

Nicholas E. Rothfuss, Aleksandra Marsh, Grazia Rovelli, Markus D. Petters, Jonathan P. Reid*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalLetter (Academic Journal)peer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
281 Downloads (Pure)


Responding to changes in the surrounding environment, aerosol particles can grow by water condensation changing rapidly in composition and changing dramatically in viscosity. The timescale for growth is important to establish for particles undergoing hydration processes in the atmosphere or during inhalation. Using an electrodynamic balance, we report direct measurements at -7.5, 0, and 20 °C of timescales for hygroscopic condensational growth on a range of model hygroscopic aerosol systems. These extend from viscous aerosol particles containing a single saccharide solute (sucrose, glucose, raffinose, or trehalose) and a starting viscosity equivalent to a glass of ∼1012 Pa·s, to nonviscous (∼10-2 Pa·s) tetraethylene glycol particles. The condensation timescales observed in this work indicate that water condensation occurs rapidly at all temperatures examined (<10 s) and for particles of all initial viscosities spanning 10-2 to 1012 Pa·s. Only a marginal delay (<1 order of magnitude) is observed for particles starting as a glass.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3708-3713
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry Letters
Issue number13
Early online date20 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jul 2018


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