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The Identification of Individual Hygroscopic Particles in the Atmosphere by a Phase‐Transition Method

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1 Author(s)
Twomey, S. ; Division of Radiophysics, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, Australia

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It is shown that in many cases the measurement of the relative humidity at which a hygroscopic particle becomes liquid can be used to establish the chemical composition of the particle. An apparatus is described which produces a stream of air of constant temperature and variable humidity. Using this apparatus the phase‐transition point was determined for particles collected on spider webs. These particles were sampled in the Sydney area on the ground and from an aircraft, and it is shown that the measured values of relative humidity for the solid‐liquid phase transition agreed with the hypothesis that the hygroscopic particles were composed of sea salt. Direct microscopic observation was used to follow the behavior of the particles; the technique was capable of dealing with particles down to 10-12g.

Published in:

Journal of Applied Physics  (Volume:24 ,  Issue: 9 )

Date of Publication:

Sep 1953

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