In this study bulk airborne aerosol composition measured by the PILS-IC (integration time of 3 min 24 s) during TRACE-P P3B Flight 10 are used to investigate the ionic chemical composition and mixing state of biomass burning particles. A biomass burning plume, roughly 3-4 days old, moderately influenced by urban pollution aerosols recorded in the Philippine Sea is investigated. Focusing on the fine particle NO3-, SO42-, K+, NH4+, and water-soluble organics, the observed correlations and nearly 1-to-1 molar ratios between K+ and NO3- and between NH4+ and (SO42-+ inferred Organics) suggest the presence of fine-mode KNO3, (NH4)2SO4, and NH4(Organics) aerosols. Under the assumption that these ion pairs existed, and because KNO3 is thermodynamically less favored than K2SO4 in a mixture of NO3-, SO42-, K+, NH4+, and Organic anions, the measurements suggest that aerosols could be composed of biomass burning particles (KNO3) mixed to a large degree externally with the (NH4)2SO4 aerosols. A "closed-mode" thermodynamic aerosol simulation predicts that a degree of external mixing (by SO42- mass) of 60 to 100% is necessary to achieve the observed ionic associations in terms of the existence of KNO3. However, the degree of external mixing is most likely larger than 90%, based on both the presence of KNO3 and the amounts of NH4NO3. Calculations are also shown that the aerosol mixing state significantly impacts particle growth by water condensation/evaporation. In the case of P3B Flight #10, the internal mixture is generally more hygroscopic than the external mixture. This method for estimating particle mixing state from bulk aerosol data is less definitive than single particle analysis, but because the data are quantitative, it may provide a complementary method to single particle chemical analysis.
- Aerosol mixing state
- Aerosol thermodynamic modeling
- Biomass burning particles
- Degree of external mixing
- Ionic association