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Comparison of measured and calculated collision efficiencies at low temperatures

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Publication date 2015
Author Nagare Baban, Marcella Claudia, Stetzer Olaf, Lohmann Ulrike,
Project Laboratory studies on the ice nucleation properties of fresh and aged mineral dust aerosols
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Volume (Issue) 15
Page(s) 13759 - 13776
Title of proceedings Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics
DOI 10.5194/acp-15-13759-2015

Open Access


Interactions of atmospheric aerosols with clouds influence cloud properties and modify the aerosol life cycle. Aerosol particles act as cloud condensation nuclei and ice nucleating particles or become incorporated into cloud droplets by scavenging. For an accurate description of aerosol scavenging and ice nucleation in contact mode, collision efficiency between droplets and aerosol particles needs to be known. This study derives the collision rate from experimental contact freezing data obtained with the ETH CoLlision Ice Nucleation CHamber (CLINCH). Freely falling 80 μm diameter water droplets are exposed to an aerosol consisting of 200 and 400 nm diameter silver iodide particles of concentrations from 500 to 5000 and 500 to 2000 cm−3, respectively, which act as ice nucleating particles in contact mode. The experimental data used to derive collision efficiency are in a temperature range of 238–245 K, where each collision of silver iodide particles with droplets can be assumed to result in the freezing of the droplet. An upper and lower limit of collision efficiency is also estimated for 800 nm diameter kaolinite particles. The chamber is kept at ice saturation at a temperature range of 236 to 261 K, leading to the slow evaporation of water droplets giving rise to thermophoresis and diffusiophoresis. Droplets and particles bear charges inducing electrophoresis. The experimentally derived collision efficiency values of 0.13, 0.07 and 0.047–0.11 for 200, 400 and 800 nm particles are around 1 order of magnitude higher than theoretical formulations which include Brownian diffusion, impaction, interception, thermophoretic, diffusiophoretic and electric forces. This discrepancy is most probably due to uncertainties and inaccuracies in the description of thermophoretic and diffusiophoretic processes acting together. This is, to the authors' knowledge, the first data set of collision efficiencies acquired below 273 K. More such experiments with different droplet and particle diameters are needed to improve our understanding of collision processes acting together.