pH Variance in Aerosols Undergoing Liquid-Liquid Phase Separation

Friday, 19 December 2014: 2:52 PM
Nathan C Eddingsaas, Magda Dallemagne and Xiau Huang, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY, United States
The water content of aerosols is largely governed by relative humidity (RH). As the relative humidity decreases, and thus the water content of aerosols, a number of processes occur including the shrinking of aerosols, the increase in concentration of components, and potentially the formation of liquid liquid phase separation (llps) due to the salting out of inorganic salts. The most ubiquitous salt in atmospheric aerosols is ammonium sulfate which results in many aerosols to be at least mildly acidic. However, during llps, the pH of the different phases is not necessarily the same. Many reactions that take place within atmospheric aerosols are acid catalyzed so a better understanding of the pH of the individual phases as well as the interface between the phases is important to understanding aerosol processing and aging. Through the use of pH sensitive dyes and confocal microscopy we have directly measured the pH of micron sized model aerosols during high RH where the aerosols are in a single phase, at intermediate while the aerosols are in llps, and low RH where the aerosols consist of one liquid phase and one solid phase. We will discuss the variation in RH during these different phase states in the presence and absence of excess sulfuric acid. We will also discuss how this variation in pH affects aging of aerosols.