Drastically different restructuring of airborne and surface-anchored soot aggregates

Chao Chen, Dmitri N. Zakharov, Alexei F. Khalizov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Combustion soot particles are fractal aggregates of hydrophobic spherules. Mixing of soot particles with other chemicals during atmospheric processing may partially offset their hydrophobicity, promoting water uptake and structural compaction. We investigated morphological changes in fractal soot particles coated by sulfuric acid and then humidified, both in airborne and surface-bound states. Airborne soot was probed by tandem differential mobility analysis. Surface-bound soot was studied in a controlled microenvironment of a closed cell, using environmental transmission electron microscopy. After humidification, the airborne particles became fully compact, but the deposited particles showed only minor morphological changes despite significant water uptake. Although minor, those changes were detected during both water condensation and evaporation, indicating that condensation-evaporation cycles play an important role in atmospheric soot compaction. Lesser restructuring of deposited aggregates was caused by surface anchoring and coating loss, making anchoring an indispensable tool for preserving morphology of aggregates against changing experimental environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106103
JournalJournal of Aerosol Science
StatePublished - Feb 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Pollution
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes
  • Atmospheric Science


  • Condensation
  • ETEM
  • Evaporation
  • Morphology
  • Restructuring
  • Soot


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