High sensitivity of diesel soot morphological and optical properties to combustion temperature in a shock tube

Chong Qiu, Alexei F. Khalizov, Brian Hogan, Eric L. Petersen, Renyi Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Carbonaceous particles produced from combustion of fossil fuels have strong impacts on air quality and climate, yet quantitative relationships between particle characteristics and combustion conditions remain inadequately understood. We have used a shock tube to study the formation and properties of diesel combustion soot, including particle size distributions, effective density, elemental carbon (EC) mass fraction, mass-mobility scaling exponent, hygroscopicity, and light absorption and scattering. These properties are found to be strongly dependent on the combustion temperature and fuel equivalence ratio. Whereas combustion at higher temperatures (∼2000 K) yields fractal particles of a larger size and high EC content (90 wt %), at lower temperatures (∼1400 K) smaller particles of a higher organic content (up to 65 wt %) are produced. Single scattering albedo of soot particles depends largely on their organic content, increasing drastically from 0.3 to 0.8 when the particle EC mass fraction decreases from 0.9 to 0.3. The mass absorption cross-section of diesel soot increases with combustion temperature, being the highest for particles with a higher EC content. Our results reveal that combustion conditions, especially the temperature, may have significant impacts on the direct and indirect climate forcing of atmospheric soot aerosols.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6444-6452
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 3 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry


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