Immersion and Contact Efflorescence Induced by Mineral Dust Particles.
The phase state of inorganic salt aerosols impacts their properties, including the ability to undergo hygroscopic growth, catalyze heterogeneous reactions, and act as cloud condensation nuclei. Here, we report the first observation of contact efflorescence by mineral dust aerosol. The efflorescence of aqueous ammonium sulfate ((NH4)2SO4) and sodium chloride (NaCl) droplets by contact with three types of mineral dust particles (illite, montmorillonite, and NX illite), were examined using an optical levitation chamber. Immersion mode efflorescence was also studied for comparison. We find that in the presence of mineral dust particles, crystallization occurred at a higher relative humidity (RH) when compared to the homogeneous phase transition. Additionally, crystallization by contact mode efflorescence occurred at a higher RH than the corresponding immersion mode. Crystallization efficiencies in the contact mode exhibited an ion-specific trend consistent with the Hoffmeister series. Estimates for lifetimes of a salt droplet to collide with dust particles suggests that collisions between the two aerosol types are likely to occur before the salt aerosol is removed by other atmospheric processes. Such collisions could then lead to the crystallization of salt droplets that would otherwise have remained liquid, changing the overall impact that salt aerosols have on atmospheric chemistry and climate.