Aerosol Chemistry, 7.5 credits

About the course

Small airborne particles – aerosols – are in the air all around us. In the atmosphere they vary in concentration from a few per cubic centimeter in the remote, cleanest parts of the planet to millions per cubic centimeter in polluted environments. They vary in size from nanometers to hundreds of micrometers. Aerosols can come from many different sources and have a broad environmental influence, affecting climate, visibility, ecosystems and human health.

This course concentrates on aerosol chemistry. In the course you will learn about the sources and fates of atmospheric particles with different chemical compositions. You will learn about how particles are formed, what sort of chemical reactions they take part in or are influenced by, and how to measure their chemical composition. You will also learn how effects on climate and human health depend on the chemical composition of aerosols. The course will allow you to apply the knowledge you gain about fundamental chemistry to issues of practical importance.


• Natural and human sources of aerosol particles

• The chemical characteristics of aerosols

• Aerosol life cycle (chemical and physical processes and characteristics, chemical transformations, nucleation, gas-to-particle conversion, coagulation and deposition)

• Surface reactivity

• Analytical methods for determining the chemical composition of aerosols

• The effects of aerosols on climate and human health

• Basic meteorology

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