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Optimization of process models for determining volatility distribution and viscosity of organic aerosols from isothermal particle evaporation data

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9333-9350
Number of pages18
JournalAtmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Issue number14
DateAccepted/In press - 14 Jun 2019
DatePublished (current) - 22 Jul 2019


The composition of organic aerosol under different ambient conditions as well as their phase state have been a subject of intense study in the recent years. One way to study the particle properties is to measure the particle size shrinkage in a diluted environment at isothermal conditions. From these measurements it is possible to separate the fraction of low volatility compounds from high volatility compounds. In this work, we analyze and evaluate a method for obtaining particle composition and viscosity from measurements using process models coupled with input optimization algorithms. Two optimization methods, Monte Carlo Genetic Algorithm and Bayesian inference, are used together with process models describing the dynamics of particle evaporation. The process model optimization scheme in inferring particle composition in a volatility-basis-set sense and composition dependent particle viscosity is tested with artificially generated data sets and real experimental data. Optimizing model input so that the output matches these data yields a good match for the estimated quantities. Both optimization methods give equally good results when they are used to estimate particle composition to artificial test data. The time scale of the experiments and the initial particle size are found to be important in defining the range of values that can be identified for the properties from the optimization.

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