Recent Published Articles

Real-time, single-particle chemical composition, volatility and mixing state measurements of urban aerosol particles in southwest China

Wei Zhang , Luyao Chen , Junke Zhang , Jiaqi Li , Xiaojuan Huang , Yuzheng Xiang , Jing Chen , Tingru Pan


Received August 29, 2022,Revised , Accepted December 12, 2022, Available online December 20, 2022

Volume 36,2024,Pages 361-371

To investigate the volatility of atmospheric particulates and the evolution of other particulate properties (chemical composition, particle size distribution and mixing state) with temperature, a thermodenuder coupled with a single particle aerosol mass spectrometer was used to conduct continuous observations of atmospheric fine particles in Chengdu, southwest China. Because of their complex sources and secondary reaction processes, the average mass spectra of single particles contained a variety of chemical components (including organic, inorganic and metal species). When the temperature rose from room temperature to 280°C, the relative areas of volatile and semi-volatile components decreased, while the relative areas of less or non-volatile components increased. Most (> 80%) nitrate and sulfate existed in the form of NH4NO3 and (NH4)2SO4, and their volatilization temperatures were 50–100°C and 150–280°C, respectively. The contribution of biomass burning (BB) and vehicle emission (VE) particles increased significantly at 280°C, which emphasized the important role of regional biomass burning and local motor vehicle emissions to the core of particles. With the increase in temperature, the particle size of the particles coated with volatile or semi-volatile components was reduced, and their mixing with secondary inorganic components was significantly weakened. The formation of K-nitrate (KNO3) and K-sulfate (KSO4) particles was dominated by liquid-phase processes and photochemical reactions, respectively. Reducing KNO3 and BB particles is the key to improving visibility. These new results are helpful towards better understanding the initial sources, pollution formation mechanisms and climatic effects of fine particulate matter in this megacity in southwest China.

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