Thermodynamics of Atmospheric Aerosol Particles using Models, Mimics, and Microfluidics

EAS Spring 2019 Seminar Series Presents Dr. Cari Dutcher, University of Minnesota

Atmospheric aerosols are one of the major contributing factors to our climate, yet are a leading source of uncertainty in climate modeling. Part of this uncertainty arises from the complex nature of individual aerosol particles: the composition and phase of aerosol particles evolve dramatically with changes in the ambient environmental conditions. The resultant composition and phase inform the particle’s optical properties, species uptake and partitioning, and activation to cloud condensation or ice nuclei. 

In this talk, recent advancements using analytic thermodynamic modeling and laboratory microscale flows will be highlighted for aerosol droplet systems, towards improved understanding of the properties and phase of aerosols in our atmosphere. 

First, statistical thermodynamic approaches will be presented for determining particle surface tension, composition, and surface-to-bulk partitioning in aerosols across the full range of relative humidity. 

Second, novel methods for measuring the interfacial tension, viscosity, and phase of atmospheric aerosol droplets and chemical mimics will be introduced using droplet microfluidic contractions, traps, and wells. 

The talk will end with broader implications for the use of the modeling and microscale flows for study of complex emulsions, for improved liquid-liquid separation.

Event Details


  • Thursday, January 17, 2019
    2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Location: Ford Environmental, Science & Technology (ES&T) Building, Rm. L1120, 2pm
Fee(s): Free

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  • Cari Dutcher

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Natasha Lawson