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Keywords:

  • hygroscopic properties;
  • organic aerosols;
  • water activity measurements

[1] Studies have shown that organic matter often constitutes up to 50% by mass of tropospheric aerosols. These organics may considerably affect the water uptake properties of these aerosols, impacting Earth's climate and atmosphere. However, considerable uncertainties still exist about hygroscopic properties of organic carbon (OC) in particles. In this study, we have assembled an apparatus to measure equilibrium water vapor pressure over bulk solutions. We used these results to calculate the hygroscopic growth curve and deliquescence relative humidity (DRH) of representative compounds in three OC categories: saccharides, mono/dicarboxylic acids, and HULIS (Humic-Like Substances). To our knowledge, this is the first study to examine the hygroscopic growth of HULIS by means of a bulk method on representative compounds such as fulvic and humic acids. We also explored the temperature effect on hygroscopic growth within the 0°C–30°C temperature range and found no effect. The DRH and hygroscopic growth obtained were in excellent agreement with published tandem differential mobility analyzer (TDMA), electrodynamic balance, and bulk data for sodium chloride, ammonium sulfate, d-glucose, levoglucosan, succinic acid, and glutaric acid. However, we found a hygroscopic growth factor of 1.0 at a relative humidity of 90% for phthalic, oxalic, humic, and two fulvic acids; these results disagree with various TDMA studies. The TDMA is used widely to study water uptake of organic particles but can be affected by particle microstructural arrangements before the DRH and by the inability to fully dry particles. Thus, in the future it will be important to confirm TDMA data for nondeliquescent organic particles with alternate methods.