An empirical approach to the nucleation of sulfuric acid droplets in the atmosphere

P. Hamill, R. D'Auria, P. R. Turco


We use quantum mechanical evaluations of the Gibbs free energy of the hydrates of sulfuric acid, H2SO4. nH2O and (H2SO4)2
. nH2O to evaluate an empirical surface tension for sulfuric acid-water clusters containing few molecules.
We use this surface tension to evaluate nucleation rates using classical heteromolecular theory. At low temperatures
(T 213 K) the nucleation rates obtained with the empirical surface tensions are signifi cantly greater than those
using bulk values of the surface tension. At higher temperatures the difference disappears.


nucleation;Gibbs energy;aerosol microphysics

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Published by INGV, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - ISSN:  2037-416X