The effect of black carbon aging from NO2 oxidation of SO2 on its morphology, optical and hygroscopic properties. Academic Article uri icon


  • Atmospheric aging of black carbon (BC) leads to changes in its physiochemical properties, exerting complex effects on environment and climate. In this study, we have conducted laboratory chamber experiments to investigate the effects of BC aging on its morphology, hygroscopicity and optical properties by exposing monodisperse fresh BC particles to ambient ubiquitous species of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2) and ammonia (NH3) in absence of UV light. We show a rapid aging from highly fractal to compacted aggregates for the monodisperse BC particles with an initial diameter of 150nm, with decline in the dynamic shape factor () from about 1.8 to nearly 1. The effective density of the monodisperse BC particles increases from 0.54 to 1.50gcm-3 accordingly. The aging process leads to that the light scattering, absorption, and single scattering albedo of the monodisperse BC particles are strongly enhanced by factors of 7.0, 1.8 and 3.0 respectively. By comparing with the BC aging from other mechanisms, we reveal a critical role of the composition of the coating materials on BC in determining its light absorption enhancement. Moreover, due to strong water uptake capacity of the aged BC particles, the light absorption enhancement (Eabs) could be 40-60% higher at humid atmosphere compared with dry conditions. This BC aging process from NO2 oxidation of SO2 may occur commonly in polluted regions and thus considerably alter its effects on regional air quality and climate.

published proceedings

  • Environ Res

author list (cited authors)

  • Zhang, F., Peng, J., Chen, L. u., Collins, D., Li, Y., Jiang, S., Liu, J., & Zhang, R.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Zhang, Fang||Peng, Jianfei||Chen, Lu||Collins, Don||Li, Yixin||Jiang, Sihui||Liu, Jieyao||Zhang, Renyi

publication date

  • September 2022