Water interaction with hydrophobic and hydrophilic soot particles

Olga Popovicheva, Natalia M. Persiantseva, Natalia K. Shonija, Paul Demott, Kirsten Koehler, Markus Petters, Sonia Kreidenweis, Victoria Tishkova, Benjamin Demirdjian, Jean Suzanne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


The interaction of water with laboratory soots possessing a range of properties relevant for atmospheric studies is examined by two complementary methods: gravimetrical measurement of water uptake coupled with chemical composition and porosity analysis and HTDMA (humidified tandem differential mobility analyzer) inference of water uptake accompanied by separate TEM (transmission electron microscopy) analysis of single particles. The first method clarifies the mechanism of water uptake for bulk soot and allows the classification of soot with respect to its hygroscopicity. The second method highlights the dependence of the soot aerosol growth factor on relative humidity (RH) for quasi-monodisperse particles. Hydrophobic and hydrophilic soot are qualitatively defined by their water uptake and surface polarity: laboratory soot particles are thus classified from very hydrophobic to very hydrophilic. Thermal soot particles produced from natural gas combustion are classified as hydrophobic with a surface of low polarity since water is found to cover only half of the surface. Graphitized thermal soot particles are proposed for comparison as extremely hydrophobic and of very low surface polarity. Soot particles produced from laboratory flame of TC1 aviation kerosene are less hydrophobic, with their entire surface being available for statistical monolayer water coverage at RH ∼ 10%. Porosity measurements suggest that, initially, much of this surface water resides within micropores. Consequently, the growth factor increase of these particles to 1.07 at RH > 80% is attributed to irreversible swelling that accompanies water uptake. Hysteresis of adsorption/desorption cycles strongly supports this conclusion. In contrast, aircraft engine soot, produced from burning TC1 kerosene in a gas turbine engine combustor, has an extremely hydrophilic surface of high polarity. Due to the presence of water soluble organic and inorganic material it can be covered by many water layers even below water saturation conditions. This soot demonstrates a gradual diameter growth factor (Dwet/Ddry) increase up to 1.22 at 93% relative humidity, most likely due to the presence of single particles with water soluble material heterogeneously distributed over their surface.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2332-2344
Number of pages13
JournalPhysical Chemistry Chemical Physics
Issue number17
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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