Atmospheric aerosols are microscopic particles that affect climate in the form of dust, smoke, smog, mist, etc. Understanding the morphology, physical, chemical, and optical properties of atmospheric aerosols is key to improving climate modeling prediction. Combustion aerosols from fossil fuel, oil, waste, and biomass burning represent a major source of atmospheric aerosols.
An emerging capability developed at the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL) allows scientists to generate combustion aerosols to better characterize their properties. The controlled combustion system (CCS) mimics real-life combustion conditions around the aerosols produced, improving understanding of aerosol formation, properties, and the effects on climate and ecosystem.
EMSL’s CCS can be customized based on the user’s project needs and is shepherded by EMSL staff scientists in the Terrestrial-Atmospheric Processes Integrated Research Platform. After the combustion conditions are created in CCS, aerosols can be analyzed using EMSL’s analytical platforms, including mass spectrometry, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), ice nucleation environmental SEM, computer-controlled SEM, and transmission electron microscopy. These analytical platforms will provide a comprehensive picture of combustion aerosols and their roles in the climate.
Supporting the Terrestrial-Atmospheric Processes Integrated Research Platform, CCS provides opportunities in combustion aerosols research such as:
- Chemical, physical, and optical properties of combustion aerosols
- Combustion aerosol and cloud interaction
- Atmospheric aging of combustion emission
- Health effects of combustion aerosols
- Combustion emission impacts on the ecosystem.