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Variability of apparent particle density of an urban aerosol.

  • Pitz, Mike
  • Cyrys, Josef
  • Karg, Erwin
  • Wiedensohler, Alfred
  • Wichmann, H Erich
  • Heinrich, Joachim
Published Article
Environmental Science & Technology
American Chemical Society (ACS)
Publication Date
Oct 01, 2003
PMID: 14572082


The day to day and diurnal variation of apparent particle density was studied using highly time-resolved measurements of particle number distribution and fine-particle mass concentration. The study was conducted in Erfurt, Germany, from January 1, 1999, to November 22, 2000. A setup consisting of a differential mobility particle spectrometer and a laser aerosol spectrometer was used for particle number distribution measurements. PM2.5 particle mass was measured in parallel on an hourly basis using a tapered element oscillating microbalance (TEOM) and on daily base by using a Harvard marple impactor (HI). For the estimation of the mean apparent density of particles, number size distributions were converted into volume size distributions, assuming that the particles were spherically shaped. The volume size distributions were integrated over the range of 10 nm to 2.03 microm Stokes equivalent diameter to obtain volume concentrations. Mean apparent particle density was calculated as ratio of mass concentration and volume concentration. The mean apparent particle density, determined from HI and number size distribution on a daily basis was 1.6 +/- 0.5 g cm(-3). We found a strong day-to-day variation of apparent density ranging from 1.0 to 2.5 g cm(-3) (5th and 95th percentile). Furthermore, the apparent density showed pronounced diurnal pattern both in summer and in winter and also on weekdays and weekends. The apparent density was lowest in the morning and highest in the afternoon. The mean apparent density on an hourly basis was 1.4 +/- 0.5 and 1.5 +/- 0.5 g cm(-3) for PM2.5TEOM and corrected PM2.5TEOM using regression equation between daily mass concentration of HI and TEOM, respectively. The strong diurnal variation of apparent particle density was associated predominantly with the vertical temperature inversion and with traffic intensity. Thus, the apparent particle density depends on the physical particle properties and might be related to chemical composition of the sampled particle.

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