Student Summer Scholars Manuscripts


Evaporation, Tropospheric Aerosols



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Chemistry Commons




With the recent discovery of the ubiquity of organic material in tropospheric aerosols, it has been postulated that the rates of water evaporation and condensation into the aerosols could be affected by thin surfactant films, which could ultimately affect cloud formation. Nathanson et al. have begun to study the effect of water evaporation from sulfuric acid solutions through the short-chain surfactant, butanol. They have found that a nearly full monolayer of butanol fails to reduce water evaporation from the acid. This unexpected result raises many questions about the mechanism of water evaporation. We used molecular modeling to help answer some of these questions as it allowed us to examine the trajectory by which a molecule leaves the liquid at the molecular level. We also are able to study this problem under conditions closer to that of the troposphere because we are free of certain experimental limitations and we intend to do so in the future.