How aerosols are formed

ETH Zurich researchers conducted an experiment to investigate the initial steps in the formation of aerosols. Their findings are now aiding efforts to better understand and model that process—for example, the formation ...

Fresh sea spray turns 'sour' after being airborne

Aerosols are everywhere. These tiny liquid or solid particles populate the atmosphere, emerging from natural and artificial sources like volcanoes and oceans, and fossil fuels and agriculture. Ranging in size from less than ...

Shedding light on the dark side of biomass burning pollution

Oxidized organic aerosol is a major component of ambient particulate matter, substantially impacting climate, human health and ecosystems. Oxidized aerosol from biomass burning is especially toxic, known to contain a large ...

No nanoparticle risks found in field tests of spray sunscreens

People can continue using mineral-based aerosol sunscreens without fear of exposure to dangerous levels of nanoparticles or other respirable particulates, according to Penn State research published in the journal Aerosol ...

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Technically, an aerosol is a suspension of fine solid particles or liquid droplets in a gas. Examples are clouds, and air pollution such as smog and smoke. In general conversation, aerosol usually refers to an aerosol spray can or the output of such a can. The word aerosol derives from the fact that matter "floating" in air is a suspension (a mixture in which solid or liquid or combined solid–liquid particles are suspended in a fluid). To differentiate suspensions from true solutions, the term sol evolved—originally meant to cover dispersions of tiny (sub-microscopic) particles in a liquid. With studies of dispersions in air, the term aerosol evolved and now embraces both liquid droplets, solid particles, and combinations of these. The Earth atmosphere contains aerosols of various types and concentrations, including quantities of:

By far the most common aerosols in the atmosphere are clouds, which normally consist of suspensions of water droplets or ice particles of greater or lesser density.

Aerosols can be found in urban Ecosystems in various forms, for example:

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