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A study on effects of size and structure on hygroscopicity of nanoparticles using a tandem differential mobility analyzer and TEM.

Park K; Kim J-S; Miller AL
J Nanopart Res 2009 Jan; 11(1):175-183
A hygroscopicity tandem differential mobility analyzer (HTDMA) technique is used to determine size-effect of nanoparticles (NaCl, (NH4)2SO4, KCl, NH4NO3, MgCl2, CaCl2) on their hygroscopic properties (deliquescence relative humidity (DRH) and hygroscopic growth factor (GF)). The HTDMA system uses a combination of two nano DMAs and two regular DMAs to measure particle size change in a wide dynamic particle size range. Particles are subsequently analyzed with a transmission electron microscopy to investigate the potential effect of particle structure or morphology on the hygroscopic properties. We found that structural properties of NaCl and (NH4)2SO4 particles also play an important role in determination of the DRH and GF and are more pronounced at smaller diameters. Data show that the DRH of NaCl nanoparticles increased from approximately 75% up to approximately 83% RH at 8 nm and that their GF decreased with decreasing size. The extent to which the GF of NaCl nanoparticles decreased with decreasing size was greater than theoretically predicted with the Kelvin correction. The GF of furnace-generated NaCl nanoparticles that have pores and aggregate shape was found to be smaller than that of atomizer-generated particles that are close to perfectly cubic. For the case of atomizer-generated (NH4)2SO4 nanoparticles, we observed no significant size-effect on their DRH, and the measured GF agreed well with predicted values using the Kelvin correction. For furnace-generated (NH4)2SO4 nanoparticles, a gradual growth at moderate RH without noticeable deliquescence behavior occurred. Their TEM images showed that contrary to atomizer-generated (NH4)2SO4 nanoparticles the furnace-generated (NH4)2SO4 nanoparticles are not perfectly spherical and are often aggregates having pores and holes, which may favor holding residual water even in the dried condition. For atomizer-generated KCl, MgCl2, and CaCl2 nanoparticles, we observed no significant size-effects on their DRH and GF for the mobility size as small as 20 nm.
Relative-humidity; Analytical-processes; Analytical-instruments; Particulates; Airborne-particles; Nanotechnology
K. Park, Research Center for Biomolecular Nanotechnology, Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology (GIST), 261 Cheomdan-gwagiro (Oryong-dong), Buk-gu, Gwangju 500-712, Republic of Korea
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Journal of Nanoparticle Research
Page last reviewed: September 23, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division