Rapid Formation of Sulfuric Acid Particles at Near-Atmospheric Conditions

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Science  04 Feb 2005:
Vol. 307, Issue 5710, pp. 698-700
DOI: 10.1126/science.1104054

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We investigated the formation of new particles in a laboratory study, starting from H2SO4 produced in situ through the reaction of OH radicals with SO2. Newly formed particles were observed for H2SO4 concentrations above 7 × 106 per cubic centimeter. At 293 kelvin, a rough estimate yielded a nucleation rate of 0.3 to 0.4 particles per cubic centimeter per second for ∼107 particles per cubic centimeter of H2SO4 (particle size ≥ 3 nanometers). These findings are in agreement with observations from the atmosphere. The results demonstrate that under laboratory conditions similar to the atmosphere, particle formation occurs at atmospheric H2SO4 concentration levels.

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