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Putting a More Realistic Cloud in a Bottle, or Development of a Multiphase Turbulent Reaction Chamber for Laboratory Studies of Atmospheric Aerosol and Cloud Processes

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Monday, September 20, 2010, 4 pm

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This is a past event.

Will Cantrell, Claudio Mazzoleni, Lynn Mazzoleni, and Raymond Shaw
Michigan Tech

Seen from space, it is apparent that Earth would more accurately be named Ocean-Cloud – blue and white dominate most images of Earth sent back from space. Ocean and cloud also strongly affect Earth's climate, and yet both are poorly understood. Michigan Tech has been recommended for funding for construction of a multiphase, turbulent reaction chamber which will address uncertainties in cloud and aerosol processes by enabling the study of cloud and aerosol particles in a controlled environment. The purpose of the chamber is to provide an idealization where specific mechanisms can be probed with repeatability, with a focus on aerosol–cloud-particle transformations and the chemical and turbulent processes that influence them.

The chamber will have a working volume of 3.14 m3 (a cylinder of diameter 2 m) and will be able to simulate the full range of tropospherically relevant temperatures and pressures (e.g., ~ -50 to 20°C and 104 to 105 Pa). The chamber will also have the capability to support well characterized turbulence, through Rayleigh-Benard convection. Funds have also been recommended for supporting instrumentation to allow generation and characterization of aerosol and cloud particles, for measurement of thermodynamic and turbulence conditions, and for sampling of particles for subsequent chemical and morphological analysis.

We will provide a brief overview of the chamber's specifications and intended capabilities, then highlight a few of the outstanding issues in atmospheric physics and chemistry that we intend to address. Upon completion, the chamber will be a facility for use by the researchers at Michigan Tech and beyond. There will be ample time for discussion.


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