EGU General Assembly 2020
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the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

The influence of surface charge on dust agglomeration growth in the mesosphere

Ingrid Mann1, Joshua Baptiste2, John Fox2, Anthony J. Stace2, and Elena Besley2
Ingrid Mann et al.
  • 1UiT the Arctic University of Norway, Department of Physics and Technology, Tromsø, Norway (
  • 2School of Chemistry, University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham, NG7 2RD, United Kingdom

The growth of particles is an important consideration toward a better understanding of the role of dust, ice and refractory particles in the upper mesosphere and lower thermosphere: in short, the MLT region (60 to 130 km). We investigate the conditions of dust growth via mutual collisions. It is assumed that meteoric smoke particles (MSP) are the main dust component in the mesosphere. MSP are small condensates that form in the diffusing meteor and are transported in the atmosphere where they grow by condensation. A second dust component are ice particles that form during summer months at mid and high latitude. These Polar Mesospheric Cloud (PMC) particles are composed of water ice and possibly include a fraction of the smaller MSP.

In this work, we investigate the effect of surface charge on the aggregation and growth of particles in the MLT region. The specific materials of the particles considered are similar to those typically found or expected in this region such as silica, metal oxides and ice, with particle sizes of 0.5 nm and larger. To consider the influence of the surface charges, we apply a model of the electrostatic interaction between particles of dielectric materials that, given the right conditions, includes the possibility for an attractive interaction between like-charged particles (Bichoutskaia et al. 2010). This like-charge attraction occurs due to the mutual polarisation of surface charge densities leading to regions of negative and positive surface densities close to the point of contact between the particles (Stace et al. 2011). This general model allows to investigate the interactions between particles of different size, charge and compositions. We simulate the interactions for particles of same charge and pairs of neutral and charged particles under different collision conditions in the MLT.

Bichoutskaia, E., (E. Besley), et al. J. Chem. Phys., 133(2), 024105 (2010).

Stace, A. J., et al. J. Colloid Interface Sci. 354(1), 417-420 (2011).


How to cite: Mann, I., Baptiste, J., Fox, J., Stace, A. J., and Besley, E.: The influence of surface charge on dust agglomeration growth in the mesosphere, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-6717,, 2020

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