|Title||Phase Behavior of Hydrocarbon-like Primary Organic Aerosol and Secondary Organic Aerosol Proxies Based on Their Elemental Oxygen-to-Carbon Ratio|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2021|
|Authors||Mahrt, F, Newman, E, Huang, Y, Ammann, M, Bertram, AK|
|Journal||ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY|
|Date Published||SEP 2021|
A large fraction of atmospheric aerosols can be characterized as primary organic aerosol (POA) and secondary organic aerosol (SOA). Knowledge of the phase behavior, that is, the number and type of phases within internal POA + SOA mixtures, is crucial to predict their effect on climate and air quality. For example, if POA and SOA form a single phase, POA will enhance the formation of SOA by providing organic mass to absorb SOA precursors. Using microscopy, we studied the phase behavior of mixtures of SOA proxies and hydrocarbon-like POA proxies at relative humidity (RH) values of 90%, 45%, and below 5%. Internal mixtures of POA and SOA almost always formed two phases if the elemental oxygen-to-carbon ratio (O/C) of the POA was less than 0.11, which encompasses a large fraction of atmospheric hydrocarbon-like POA from fossil fuel combustion. SOA proxies mixed with POA proxies having 0.11 ≤ O/C ≤ 0.29 mostly resulted in particles with one liquid phase. However, two liquid phases were also observed, depending on the type of SOA and POA surrogates, and an increase in phase-separated particles was observed when increasing the RH in this O/C range. The results have implications for predicting atmospheric SOA formation and policy strategies to reduce SOA in urban environments.