Using environmental scanning electron microscopy to determine the hygroscopic properties of agricultural aerosols Academic Article uri icon


  • A field study at a cattle feedlot in the Texas Panhandle was conducted to characterize the hygroscopic, morphological, and chemical properties of agricultural aerosols and to identify possible correlations between these properties. To explore the hygroscopic nature of the agricultural particles, we have collected size-resolved aerosol samples using a cascade impactor system and have used an environmental scanning electron microscope (ESEM) to determine the water uptake by individual particles in those samples as a function of relative humidity (RH). In addition, complementary determination of the elemental composition of single particles was performed using energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS). Our results indicate that most of the agricultural particles do not take up significant amounts of water when exposed to up to 96% RH. However, a small fraction of particles in the coarse mode deliquesced at approximately 75% RH and reached twice their original sizes by 96% RH. The observed changes in particle size with increased RH may significantly impact total aerosol extinction, visibility, and human health. 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 6

author list (cited authors)

  • Hiranuma, N., Brooks, S. D., Auvermann, B. W., & Littleton, R.

citation count

  • 32

complete list of authors

  • Hiranuma, Naruki||Brooks, Sarah D||Auvermann, Brent W||Littleton, Rick

publication date

  • January 2008