|Title||Not all types of secondary organic aerosols mix: Two phases observed when mixing different secondary organic aerosol types|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2022|
|Authors||Mahrt, F, Peng, L, Zaks, J, Huang, Y, Ohno, PE, Smith, NR, Gregson, FKA, Qin, Y, Faiola, CL, Martin, ST, Nizkorodov, SA, Ammann, M, Bertram, AK|
|Journal||ATMOSPHERIC CHEMISTRY AND PHYSICS|
|Date Published||NOV 2022|
Secondary organic aerosol (SOA) constitutes a large fraction of atmospheric aerosol. To assess its impacts on climate and air pollution, knowledge of the number of phases in internal mixtures of different SOA types is required. Atmospheric models often assume that different SOA types form a single phase when mixed. Here, we present visual observations of the number of phases formed after mixing different anthropogenic and biogenic SOA types. Mixing SOA types generated in environmental chambers with oxygen-to-carbon (O/C) ratios between 0.34 and 1.05, we found 6 out of 15 mixtures of two SOA types to result in two phase particles. We demonstrate that the number of phases depends on the difference in the average O/C ratio between the two SOA types (Δ(O/C)). Using a threshold Δ(O/C) of 0.47, we can predict the phase behavior of over 90 % of our mixtures, with one- and two-phase particles predicted for Δ(O/C) < 0.47 and Δ(O/C) ≥ 0.47, respectively. This ΔO/C threshold value provides a simple parameter to predict whether mixtures of fresh and aged SOA form one- or two-phase particles in the atmosphere. In addition, we show that phase-separated SOA particles form when mixtures of volatile organic compounds emitted from real trees are oxidized.