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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Characterization of primary particle size variation and its influence on measurable properties of aerosol soot Dastanpour, Ramin


Accurate measurement of the properties, emission rates, and environmental impacts (i.e. climate forcing) of aggregated aerosols depend on precise measurement of their morphology (i.e. primary particle diameter, dp, and its polydispersity). For decades soot has been modeled as fractal-like aggregates of nearly equiaxed spherules. However, examination of the soot particles collected from different combustion environments shows that the larger aggregates contain larger primary particles and the variation in dp is much smaller within individual aggregates than between aggregates. In addition to this size dependency, measurements of optical properties of mass-classified soot particles revealed that the mass-specific absorption cross section of soot also depends on particle mass. This along with the correlations observed between dp and aggregate size, suggest that these aggregates are formed in relatively homogeneous microscopic regions; after which particles with different formation, growth, and oxidation histories are mixed. This suggests that there is a need for accurate estimation of primary particle size distribution and refinement of assumptions commonly used in the conventional simulations and interpretation of the measurements. Morphology characterization of the agglomerates is commonly performed by labor-intensive manual analysis of the images produced by transmission electron microscopy. A new method has been developed for automatic determination of dp based on the variation of the 2-D pair correlation function. Results obtained from this method approximately deviate ~4% from the manual method. Application of this method is not limited to the soot particles and it can be applied to any type of the agglomerates. As an alternative approach, indirect in situ mass-mobility method proposed for the estimation of dp in zirconia particles has been tested and calibrated for soot particles. It was found that with some calibration, this method can provide results with useful accuracy. Polydispersity of the primary particles has also been neglected in the previous investigations of the hydrodynamic properties of clusters. It was shown that the mobility-equivalent diameter and the overall size of the agglomerates not only depend on dp but also increase substantially with its polydispersity. New correlations were developed for the free-molecular and continuum mobility diameters using stochastic projection and Stokesian Dynamics methods, respectively.

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